A few years ago, when Dad moved house, he gave away loads of his stuff to his children. One of the things the kids and I received was a chest of drawers. Alice has been using it but today, while moving her room around she heard something sliding around inside. She pulled out all the drawers, looked inside and saw a load of paperwork. It belonged to my dad. Most of it was just stuff he’d printed out for work but what we also found was an old diary from 2005 and some pages ripped out from diaries from 1998 and 2006. I know the respectful thing would have been to destroy them or return them to Dad but instead, a deep curiosity got the better of me and I read them.
Reading his diaries was enlightening. The bits from 1998 were just before he married his second wife. Ten days before he married her, he wrote about walking out on her and questioning his relationship with her and whether it had any future. He should have listened to that instead of marrying her as the relationship only lasted about a year before he left for good. What he wrote about her made her sound as though she were very controlling of him (at least he perceived it that way) and made me realise that while he appears to me, and many other people, to be a controlling person himself, he has also experienced being controlled. He didn’t like it one bit and rightly so. None of us should tolerate that.
In 2005, he spoke a little about feeling as though it’s time for him to go (I presume, die) as he couldn’t see what purpose his life had but then towards the end of the year he was dating again but questioning that and the feelings he has towards one woman. He seemed to really love her but admitted that he was scared. When she accused him of controlling and bullying her, he didn’t like that at all but later talked about feeling attracted to women that are vulnerable and weak as it makes him feel good because he can look after them. He wrote that when women are strong he feels threatened and retells how it relates to his mum always threatening and beating him and so he feels threatened by a strong woman and withdraws. Later he talked about this again and said if a woman criticises him, as his mum always did, then he wants to run away from this to protect himself.
His honesty has made me see a different side of him ~ the hurt little boy that he’s never been able to move away from. It’s that hurt boy that creates the controlling, narcissistic, bullying man. The man that my Dad became. However, what reading his diaries also did was made me think about what other people would think if they were to read his diaries which led on to me thinking about how I’m perceived in mine.
What I write here is only one small part of my life. Like a cut gem, there are many, many facets to who I am. Mostly I write when I’m stressed or have something on my mind that I need to work through and writing is often the safest place for me to do that. This is, after all, a diary, intended for that use. What rarely comes across is the love I feel for people, the fun I have on an almost daily basis, the things that make me laugh till my belly hurts – and that happens a lot – or any of the other little things that add up to make me a whole. I am whole. I am more than my words.
And of course, all of that applies to my dad too. He isn’t just a man that can be controlling and bullying. He is also a man that wants to be loved but can’t allow himself to be that vulnerable. He is a man who came from nothing to having plenty. He is a man who has been successful all of his life in business but also a man who wants to help, give and love others but loses himself along the way. He is a man that I now feel I don’t know that well at all.