Monday, January 30, 2012

You may be right... (I may be crazy)

This is what I should have said.  This is what I should always say.  This is how you deal with a "right-fighter."

My dad is a right-fighter.  He is always right.  No matter what the facts say.  He is always right.  I have just returned from visiting my mother and father.  It could have gone better.  I knew there was going to be trouble even before I set out on the visit.  Mom was very excited and happy I was coming for a visit, Dad was nonplussed.  Nothing.  No real reaction of gladness or dismay.  Nothing.  It didn't matter.  I was going to visit anyway.  I hadn't seen my parents in a year.  A year is a long time when you have aging parents.  I was going to visit.

I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived.  Both my mom and my dad acted happy to see me.  I brought my dad a small cooler full of salad greens and cooking greens.  I took my mom for a pampering visit at a local spa.  We visited.  We chatted.  We talked about their future, in a very limited way.  They don't like to discuss the "what we will do if... dad dies... or, mom dies."  That conversation was short and cut off abruptly.  In fact, it was dealt with, at least on my dad's part, with sarcasm and glib retorts.  Fine.  We won't talk about that.  Fine.

It looked as if it was going to be a completely pleasant weekend.  Thursday night was lovely.  Friday, all day, pleasant.  Saturday, half the day at the spa and the second half involved the arrival of my brother (not the feuding brother) and his daughter, fun filled.  Sunday was to be church and leaving for the airport.  It looked as if I would make it out of the weekend unscathed.  But, NO.  I had to have a cup of coffee before taking my shower and dressing for church Sunday morning.  Then it began.  A discussion of my shortcomings as a daughter.  How I am not doing what it takes to reconcile my brother (the feuding brother) and my father.  How I am siding with my brother and have NEVER asked my father about his side of the issue.  (even though I reminded him I had talked both he and my mom about this several times.  even though I reminded him, he had asked me not to speak to my brother about my mother or himself.)  I was at fault.  AND, now I was told, the feud between these two was going to effect my standing in the family.  I had not done all I could to repair this rift.  I needed to do what I could to force my brother to repent.  I needed to do what I could to force my brother to eat whatever worms were necessary.  And, I need to apply some kind of pressure to my brother this situation or I will find MYSELF on the outside of a relationship with my father.

It was fascinating  to watch my father "right-fight" me.  He would bring up an issue he was angry about.  He would explain how I didn't know anything about his point of view.  I only knew my brother's point of view.  If I reminded him of a conversation we HAD had about it, the conversation would immediately shift to another issue he was angry about.  This went around and around and around.  There was so much bobbing and weaving, I was getting dizzy.  Thank goodness I could remove myself from this fight with the need to take a shower and get dressed for church.  (btw, the sermon was about constructive and destructive criticism.  it stung a bit.  I had quite a few critical thoughts swimming around in my head.)

The only way for this three-year feud to end is for my brother and myself to apologize to my dad and agree that we have been completely at fault and my dad has been completely right.  My dad is right.  My dad needs to be right.  No matter what the facts say, my dad is right and I am wrong.  This is how you win at right-fighting.  It's so easy...  All you have to say is, "You may be right."

I hope, one day soon, my brother can say these words to my father because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, my father can NEVER say these words.  It's hard to imagine I am being asked to choose between my brother and my father, by my father.  It's not a choice I want to make.  It's not a choice I ever thought I'd be asked to make.  I feel like I've been sucker-punched.  Or, maybe I'm just crazy.



  1. I know that feeling! When I almost make it visiting my parents without an argument, almost almost! but then... we argue. My husband tells me not to get into it, but I give into the arguments sometimes. The difference between you and I is that I have a very short endurance. My max is 3 hrs with my parents at any given time. When I go to Mexico, I don't stay in their house. I can't, it's too much. I visit them every day when I'm there, but just for a couple of hours at a time.
    I think that personally, my frustration is the lack of acceptance. I want things to be different, but they aren't. Maybe if I just accept that's the way it is, I would have an easier time. In my case, the main problem is with my mother.

  2. ugh...that is a terrible choice to have to make...and so frustrating to watch...when is being right more important than family...i dunno of an instance when...

  3. Good for you for making the effort to go - I'm sorry it went badly.

  4. i'm sorry. also proud of you for going, doing, and being. you are certainly not being put in a fair situation.... shall add my prayers for peace and acceptance for all.
    wasn't it erma bombeck who said " ahhh families..the ties that bind ...and gag".

  5. Ahhh families--so much drama and so little need for it.  Having just survived a week in hell regarding my FIL, you have my sympathy. 

  6. What an impossible situation!

  7. Argh! So very frustrating!

  8. Why does this not surprise me?!?!?!

  9.  You know too much about this, my dear.  I'm sorry for this.


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