How to manage a 1 sided relationship - follow up about my Dad

May 06, 2022
After the popularity of the blog I wrote about being a people pleaser and how I felt this stemmed from the relationship I have with my Dad, I thought I'd write a follow up on how I manage this. You can see the original blog here.
Thank you to everyone that commented and messaged, publicly and privately. I have never been called "brave" so many times but to me it didn't feel like an act of bravery.
By speaking in private, to counsellors, therapists, friends, partners and parents (well, one of them) it made it almost easy for me to post what I did.
On the other side of vulnerability comes confidence. And the more vulnerable you are, the more confident you become.
And this is my advice to anyone who needs it. Express yourself. Ideally talk to others but writing is great too. Opening up is painful stuff but it is a measured, safe way to release the angst within.
Pain is like poison. It's painful to put the needle in to withdraw the poison, but without this it damages you from within.
And this pain of expression is the better, happier, more controlled pain.
I spent long enough having arguments with others, being angry, impatient, upset, never having less than 10 pints on nights out and generally acting in ways that contradicted my values, to know that this hurt was going to come out whether I wanted it to or not. And so by having an outlet it meant that, over time (a lot of it) my life suffered less and less.
You are going to really, REALLY struggle to deal with the person who is "responsible" for your upset if it dominates your thoughts.
I put responsible in quotations because YOU are responsible for your emotions. It might be someone else's fault you feel a certain way but you are then responsible with how to handle it.
No one can make you act a certain way. There are some instinctive reactions that may trigger emotions but we are in control of SO much, and the more we accept and work on this the more we can take control.
"Yes but ..." I have worked with people who have gone through horrific trauma who have taken responsibility for their future happiness. Edith Eger was in Auschwitz and forgave her captors and accepted responsibility for her happiness. If these ladies can do it, you can too.
My Dad is not responsible for my upset. Whilst it still bothers me at times I have come to terms with much of, if not most of this now.
A relationship is the way in which 2 people are connected. I choose to see this relationship as permanent. If one person withdraws from that (or offers close to nothing) I am still able to offer my half. 
If we decide that there HAS to reciprocity then this is conditional and my love for my Dad isn't. Even if I would like more.
I can call, text, visit, send birthday, Christmas and Father's Day cards and offer invites to meals or social events. I can put my half into that relationship.
Does the reaction (or lack of) to this bother me? Yes. Sometimes more than others, but not for long.
I have accepted this is the case and whilst I have hope of a more positive response I am not sat waiting for one nor am I reliant on one to act.
Why am I doing this? What's the point?

So when the day comes I can look back and know that I tried my best. I want to live a life where I have hope of better days and things to come and if I stop trying then I am going against that value.
It is easy to give up on someone (and this isn't a slight on anyone who has done this with others, there are certainly occasions when it is the right thing to do) but for me, I have chosen not to do that.
By not giving up, I open myself up to being let down and disappointed. But by accepting that and continuing to put some effort in (there could be more I'll be honest!) Being in a one sided relationship isn't the most rewarding but there are ways you can approach this to make it as positive an experience as possible.