It was an interesting conversation. We tread a lot of ground.
One thing I realized talking to him is that it's not that my dad didn't/doesn't love me or approve of me, it is just that expressing that approval has always been hard for him. One reason is because he held me to such high standards. I'd come home from elementary school with a 93 on a test and the response wasn't, "I'm proud of you," but, "why didn't you get a 100?" That kind of thing sticks with you.
My mom would do that, too, but where he was stern while demanding perfection, she was and is all overly emotional and stuff, while still holding the same standards. What did I learn from all this? Several things.
- If you want approval and acceptance and validation, go to women, not men.
- Everyone expects you to be perfect, and if you are just meeting expectations don't expect praise.
So, translate that into what I talked about yesterday. I go to women for validation because, truth be told, guys scare me in the "they'll just make fun of me and run me off and will never let me join in any reindeer games." But really in any group is just feel acceptance is out of reach because to get that I have to be perfect.
With girls, I've always been self-conscious, for instance, because of my height - or lack thereof. Girls like talk guys and I'm not. OK. But I have a feeling I could be 6'1" and if a taller guy walked into the room then I would suddenly have no confidence again - because I'm not the best there is at that particular thing in that particular group. And I'm not accepted if I'm not the best and perfect.
It's all pretty screwed up. But at least now I have the resources to help deal. Therapy is awesome.