The Case Defending My Dad - Part 3

May 12, 2022

Dr Ranjan Chatterjee talks about the idea of choosing the happiness story.

When you see someone being rude, it's easy to think they are insufferable prick, and perhaps they are, but how does that make you feel?

These thoughts more often than not spiral into negativity and we focus on how unjust the world is and how crap and unfair it is.

The alternative is to look for a different meaning and understanding. Perhaps their Mum had just died, or their dog was sick, or they lost their job? This isn't to let this person off the hook for their behaviour. It's not to ignore or deny suffering or negative feelings.I see no benefit to being angry and feeling hard done to. In fact, in some instances, it's an egotistical act that's done to put us in a place of moral superiority.

I'm not saying you have to do anything. Do whatever you want. It's your life. But you have more control over it than many people tell themselves and so you can control how you process various thoughts and feelings.

And this is my attempt to do that. I am actively choosing happiness, to find meaning and understanding to make myself feel better. And that's my choice.

It changes nothing but if it makes my life more pleasurable then that's what I'm going to do. It certainly beats the other sedation / comforting measures that I have used previously. Including food, alcohol and being angry.

My Dad has given away scant details of his life. Many of these have been told to me at various ages by various family members and there is undoubtedly a mix of truth and (rather dry but I'm using it for effect) legend.

All of this is speculation, and members of my family may dispute this, but these are the arguments I am choosing to believe in defence of my Dad.

My Dad grew up on a farm in the late 50's and early 60's, and as a September baby he didn't have much interaction with other children from a young age.

He is likely an out and out introvert and doesn't thrive in the company of others. He prefers time on his own.

I believe he is on the spectrum to some degree. (Again, this is my interpretation so please don't castigate me for diagnosing outside of my field!) His love for and interaction with animals far surpasses his ability to do so with humans.

I also believe he suffered from or suffered with undiagnosed depression.

It was a family "joke" that his mother wished he had been aborted and drank throughout her pregnancy with him.

He grew up with old school values around the jobs of men and women and to a degree is the product of his environment.

He spent large amounts of time working on a farm as a teenager, likely in isolation.

He admitted to his friend that he struggled to show affection or caring as he hadn't received this when he was younger.

And despite this, I believe he has shown affection in the ways that he knows how. And whilst they don't meet the standards many would accept or aspire to from their partner, father or themselves. And they don't meet what I had hoped for. They are all I have and so I look to these for comfort.

When I set up Sustain I owed him in the region of £20,000 for the house I had bought. I explained the situation to him and he said as long as I could afford the mortgage he was ok with me quitting my job to launch Sustain. Had he not done this I would have had to go and get a "normal" job and may not be doing what I love now.

He has almost singlehandedly refurbished 3 properties for me at different times. We have worked on these projects together and he has worked tirelessly for 3-9 months, for free. Loaning me £20,000 on two separate occasions. I have countless memories of us working together and witnessing his hard work, for months on end, all aged 60 or more, for no benefit other than helping me and the enjoyment of the job (and he didn't look like he was enjoying it all that much anyway!).

On a handful of occasions he has said upon departure "I am going to love you and leave you" and "that's what you do when you love someone" in regards to the work he did for me.

This may read like a lot to you! It doesn't feel like a lot over the course of a lifetime to me. The plot is of course thicker than just what is typed here but if you were looking for evidence of love and features of a man with good in his heart, which I am, then I've found some here.

There are many ways I could (and have before) tarnished this story with "Yes, but ..." insert 10 counter examples. But why bother?

My goal is to be happier and by focussing on these facts I get to be happier.