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Parent issues.

Everyone has them, right?

I've been feeling sort of funny lately about mine. I was buying all of my own food and clothes by the time I was 15. I left for college at 17 and moved in with my boyfriend shortly after (I am now 21). I mostly sped this process along because I had a deep desire to get the hell out of my parents' houses, because they were causing severe anxiety and pretty much piling on top of the problems I already had.

I suppose most of it was my mother, who is an alcoholic* and has severe money issues that she likes to pressure everybody with. It became clear very quickly, as I got older, that I was not able to depend on her to care for me and it really put the stress on me fairly young to make sure I had money of my own and back-up places to stay when she got out of hand. My parents had split up when was 12, and I was spending half the week at her house and half the week as his, and so on top of all of this it was very difficult to feel as though I had a stable home.

My father was much more dependable, but when I was 16 he found out that he had hepatitis, and had to stop working to go on treatment for it. I had no transportation because I did not have a car (or a license) and was sort of forced to figure out a way to pay for all of my own shit (and many communal things as well) as he could barely even afford to pay rent at this point as he was living off of his savings. This continues to boggle me as he had been making over 70k a year for decades and had somehow not managed to save up nearly anything? I still don't understand. We were renting, and not living in a large house at that. I don't understand at all.

Anyway, I think I built up a lot of resentment over the years because I felt that my mother was hardly a mother at all, especially as I became older and it became clear that I was not going to be the child that she expected (gay, trans, into academics and not socializing, etc.) and my father's inability to successfully navigate emotional relationships left me feeling sort of alone. I could not communicate with my mother because she was impossible to communicate with, and my father just didn't have the capacity it seemed, even though he was coherent. Though it should be said that he only stopped drinking when he found out that he had hepatitis, and for most of my life he was too drunk to talk to at night either -- unless I wanted to be frightened because he would delve into pseudo-intellectual psychobabble or tell me terrifying, violent war stories from his time in Vietnam. Cry about it, I know.

But I miss them. Sometimes I wonder if I actually miss them or if I miss the idea that I still sort of harbor in my mind of the ideal parents I would like to have. No parent is ideal, and it could have been a lot worse, but it still hurts me sometimes. I want to believe that I can leave it all behind and let it go, but it's tough. I have issues, I realize this.

Dad has been communicating with me a lot lately, and while I'm glad, I also feel guilty. He is still ill, and I'm afraid of losing him before really reconciling with him in any real way. There's nothing overtly between us, but there is a discomfort, and I think we both feel it. The problem is that he doesn't seem to be in the same state of mind (up to reconciling this discomfort), and I'm afraid it'll never happen.




*has not been in rehab or seen a professional or anything but drinks hard liquor every night and becomes impossible to speak to coherently after around 8 PM.

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