My Dad - Part Two

New here? Part One is here 
So where was I? 
Ah, crying at the disco, acceptance, emotional blocks, shame and here we go…

Shutting down
This emotional block thing came up in therapy we talked around how it is a self-defence mechanism.
Ten years ago one of the key reasons I got so out my head with such dedicated consistency is because I could not feel anything.
I felt a lot but it was never enough, I had not hurt myself enough, I had not made the right choices, I had not not not..... I was angry, frustrated and had no idea how to articulate this or ask for help.
I was talking with a my mate Johnny Tenn about this once, he said "you tell everything and make sense and then when it comes to the part that is the emotional connection you stop without warning and go somewhere else, you shut down.”
That has stayed in my head for years, as has Boggs asking me about my “self-destruct mechanism” that kicks in every time someone wants to help me out or it is going great, it kicks in and I shut down.

Who is my Dad?
It was the 5th of May 2001 and I was looking at my mum’s dead body as Fr. John said whatever prayer it is you say when someone dies. 
My Dad was in the room too and we were both numb. 
My Dad was a nurse by profession so part of him loved knowing what to do in these circumstances; I think that was the part that kicked in for him while I was busy shutting down.

I looked at him and thought, "Fuck me what do I do now? I don't even know you, I don't even know how to get to know you."
In that moment I thought it would be much more convenient for me if he had died and we were left with my Mum.

The inconvenience of looking after a sick woman I knew was much easier than trying to build a relationship beyond "can you get me this when you go shopping please?" 

It was not I did not want him around, or even disliked him. It's just that no one had every shown me how to relate to my Dad. 
He is as far from evil as you can get, he has never ever been remotely cruel to any of us. The worst thing he does he have selected hearing and fall asleep in films. 

He is one of the kindest, most generous, loving and supportive people on the planet. 
It's just I liked beer, house music and staying out late and he liked tea, playing the organ and going to bed early.

Sure having him talk to you about organ music will bore the pants off you but I am just the same with project tools, blogging platforms and CRM. At least you can see and hear an organ.

Thinking back to that day I was shit scared he just would not know what to do, he lived for our Mum and she was his guide, from what to eat in restaurants to what to watch on the telly.
Ten years later with my own family - that I am madly in love more and more everyday - I have just started to really grasp what it is to loose someone you have chosen to be with, had children with and looked forward to growing old with. 

How this blog post started….
I felt I was starting to ramble so lets bring it back. 
My Dad was napping on the sofa at our place tonight, we'd put #babybernie to sleep but he (#babybernie not my Dad) kept running out his room.

After escape attempt 350 I said to #babybernie "go to sleep with him" and he jumped up and cuddled under the blanket with my Dad.

They squeezed each other, laughed and then lay there quietly and started to snooze again.

I was left thinking that I am not sure what I'd do if I did not hug and kiss my family when I woke up and went to sleep.

After my Mum died every so often my Dad would hug me and get all serious, I'd understand for a few minutes and then roll my eyes and look for something else to do.
It was uncomfortable for me as I did not know what to say or do - neither did he - probably he'd been walking around all week trying to put that sentence together and pluck up the courage to say something.
Sometimes I'd shout at him. It was a selfish reaction because I did not know what else to do, I was frustrated at him, at myself, at the world and the colour of fresh air. 
The best way to shut someone down is to shout at him or her. 
When people shout at me it still shuts me down. Totally.

Don't eat the glass
There is shouting "watch out for the hand grenade" or "don't eat the glass" then there is shouting because you want to dominate, prove a point, or can't be arsed to put the effort into understanding the other person. 
Reading Susan Cain's "The Quiet" has really opened my head to how I communicate and receive communication. (Click here for video

Both Dad’s Now
Of course when you have a baby your whole world changes. My Dad and I had a new thing in common - we were both parents.

There is a Stephen Covey line in the 8th Habit Book about shouting: "when you have children, are you going to take them on too?"
Even before I was a parent this sent a chill down my spine - I knew I had "taken my Dad on" - even though he had not actually started, agreed or signed up to a battle.
My Grandmother suffered a form of mental illness and this caused her erratic behaviour and mood swings, my Dad had grown up in this environment and still has nightmares about it these days.

So of course me shouting at him was the most shit way in the world to build a relationship, it had also become a habit, one that I’d die if anyone knew I had.
It’s much “cooler” to have a ‘drug habit’ than a ‘shout my family habit.’
It was all in frustration, I still feel that frustration these days but can control it.
Except when I can't. 

Walking home from College
We were in my hometown earlier this year and life was piling up on me.
I was depressed about being depressed and that just made me more depressed, which articulates it in to what to commonly know as a moody son of a bitch.

I was walking with #supercoolwife and #babybernie to our friend Ana's house, I had just had an argument about something with my Dad in the car as he dropped us off. 
#Supercoolwife pointed out that what an arsehole I was being. I was. (usted tiene raz√≥n was one of the first things I learnt in Spanish) and I just walked home and left them to go to Ana's alone. 

I could not cope. I wanted to be alone. I walked back the route I used to walk home from College and felt 17 again, mainly because I was acting 17. I was crushed, nothing was going right (please see earlier blog posts for details of my tragic life).

I got back to my Dad's where we were staying. Bollox this meant I had to talk to him. I went upstairs and lay in what used to be my room, I thought for a moment.

If #babybernie was in my position up here and I was downstairs I'd be finished. Life is too short and communicating is hard enough.

Many times my Dad has walked into a room to try to help and I've shouted at him, and he still comes back to try and help – which, if you REALLY think about it is very very brave. 

Shame and Brene Brown.
Sorry seems to be the hardest word.
Stupid as that seems, because saying sorry and forgiving is letting go and liberating. 
(Don't worry I am still holding grudges - I am far from perfect even after this blog) 
It is much easier to shout and keep everyone on eggshells. Isn’t it?
This year I have leant to look at where my energy is going, I strongly believe it is less energy and more risky to go back and open up and say sorry. 
To hold onto something, shout and not let go seems less energy because it is a little bit of energy over a long period of time and we are more familiar with this habit.

At this point staying on the bed and waiting to go to sleep was certainly the easier option and everyone expected that.

I thought about Brene Brown talking about using shame as a weapon.
It’s too easy for me to SHAME #babybernie and use it as a control method. 
However, all the time I’d spend shaming him I’d be crushing his spirit, self-expression, creativity and ability to say what is going on.
Regrettably I have unwittingly created more than one environment that is designed on some kind of ill thought out righteous, dominating, self-defensive operating mechanism that crushes peoples ability to speak openly. Also (poor me) I have been victim to these environments built by others.

Brene Brown often points out how shame, fear, guilt and all these things lead to depression, anger, sickness, stress and lots of other lovely negative things. 

But this is a choice. Might not seem like it but it is.

Making up
So eased myself from the bed to go downstairs to see my Dad.
I said sorry and had a long hug with him.
I mumbled something about being sorry for shouting, not thinking and that I get frustrated and going mad seems like a good idea. I also added that if #babybernie shouted at me I’d find it really tough.

He would have been well within his rights to say, “I told you so” / “if only you listened” / “I told you this day would come.”
Instead he said “I am glad we can talk like this, I wish me and my father had enjoyed more of a relationship like this.”
It is not the first time he has said this to me, this time I was accepting and managed to stop myself telling him how he could live his life better. 

Shout, Shout let it all out
As #Babybernie has got more challenging (you know being two years old and all that) I have found it exhausting to cope with. Especially days when I am feeling really down, this year I have often felt defeated and only just managed to stop myself from shouting at him.

What really stops me shouting at him is nothing to do with being a super parent, Zen master, ‘got it all together’ dude.
It is that I think back to standing in that room as Father John prayed over our Mum’s body and looking at my Dad thinking "I don't know you at all."
It has taken me over a decade to get to know my Dad properly and I love it that he knows #babybernie so well already.

The phone call.
I was on the bus with #Babybernie going to nursery one morning at the end of July #supercoolwife called and said my sister had called and (blank) had died. I thought she said my Dad had died, some days he does sound as though he is about to.

The world changed. I stopped, I could not imagine life without him, I was annoyed that we had not got to go to Paris with him, he was getting to know #babybernie and they laughed so hard together, It was so nice to chat with him and take care of him.

The phone call was about our mate Gareth; he had died in the night after a fit. The whole world did not change back, it immediately changed again and with it brought a massive new wave of emotions. On the 5th August at Gareth’s funeral I was holding his baby boy.

I am not sure what to write now. Sorry, you were probably expecting some killer line or conclusion.
No matter what I wrote now I could never convey to you how any of the people felt at this moment in time, I can’t recall exactly what was going through my head. Consider this, writing this blog has been really important for me and really fast. 

Think how many times you write this much stuff down in one go about how you feel, what the world means to you and express how you feel.

If you do I’d love to know what you do.

In the meantime have a look and see if any of these 37 things are something you’ll regret when you are old.

Happy Christmas and hug your children even more tonight.