My dad loved me. I know that.
He just did what he thought real men were supposed to do, which put wives first, child (in my case) second.
Which works out fine in a normal home.
Not so much when you dad enables and is enmeshed with your untreated, mentally ill and down right abusive mom.
He never protected me from her abuse. That was not his priority, at any point in my life. I really just can't fathom that choice.
I never knew him well enough to figure out to connect the dots as to why he found my mom's dysfunction so attractive. I suspect it's the things that one is supposed to applaud: loyalty to a partner, a belief that love is the most important thing in a relationship..I suspect it was also a "sign of the times." Women are always nurtures, and never abusers. Mother knows best.
My dad's parents died when I was very young..about 6. So I didn't know them well (also considering one had alzheimers and barely remembered who I was a year after I was born). As far as I know, my dad grew up in a pretty loving environment. They were low income, but not dysfunctional.
So, I don't think my dad married my mom because he was comfortable with dysfunctional systems.
My dad was so enmeshed with my mom, he was willing to go low/no contact with me (his only kid), and never meet 3/4 of his grandkids.
I don't understand that kind of devotion to someone. I can't imagine putting up with the abuse yourself, for almost 50 years.
But, that was my dad. Devoted husband. Pretty crappy dad for the most part, when it counted the most.
It's really a sad situation all around.
I can't get wrapped up in what was or what I missed out on. I didn't ask my dad why he chose the path he did when he was dying. It didn't seem right.
The only thing that was important to me is to make sure that my kids didn't seek out dysfunctional relationships because of my choices.
My oldest two are 14 and 18. I am encouraged with how they are turning out so far.
I learned a long time ago that my parents were not able to demonstrate that they loved and valued me.
But, there's a whole lot of other people in this world that do.
Guess who I'm spending my time with?
[This message edited by secondtime at 2:50 AM, Tuesday, June 21st]