Allowing ourselves to be intimate with another person exposes us to risk. It takes trust to be intimate, and trust can be betrayed. Whether family, friend, or one-night stand – we take a risk when we allow another into our hearts, our beds, or our lives. Betrayal is extremely hurtful – extremely!
Although I’ve spent almost half my life learning to deal with betrayal, I learned yesterday that I haven’t quite reached nirvana yet. In fact I have a long way to go.
For the past several years we’ve been trying to find a solution to my Dad’s housing needs. His health is deteriorating rapidly, he has very limited financial resources, and he is amazingly stubborn – and independent (did I mention stubbornly independent?)
We have offered a place in our home for my Dad – as has my brother. We have suggested he put a manufactured home on one of his sibling’s property. We have suggested numerous options – but have met with an unwillingness to cooperate.
Both my brother and I believe there are better options and we asked for some time to explore those options…
About a month ago my Dad came to us with a plan to buy a manufactured home in a local trailer park – about 25 minutes south of us. A dear friend of his was going to buy it and my Dad would make small payments on the “loan.” But first that friend wanted to check with my brother and I – to make sure it was acceptable to us.
Both my brother and I believe there are better options and we asked for some time to explore those options. Although my Dad was angry at the delay, he agreed to work with us – and we began drafting new plans. As of last week, the plan was to convert our garage into a “Father-in-Law” apartment, which would allow my Dad independence, privacy, and dignity – but also would allow us to help him with food, chores, and other needs.
The night before last, I heard through the grapevine that my Dad was moving into that manufactured home 25 minutes away. Not only did my Dad operate behind our backs, and in secret – but he specifically disrespected our advice to be closer to us. After much detective work, I’ve not been able to discover the source of his funds – and I’ve explored many branches of the family tree and several of his close friends. I’ve still been unable to figure out where the money is coming from.
As of yesterday, I’d still not heard directly from my Dad that he was going through with the original plan. But he stopped by to get his laundry, while we were eating lunch yesterday. After we finished lunch, and the kids left the table, I asked him what was up. I was calm, relatively relaxed, and tried really hard to be non-judgmental and – um inquisitive. I wanted to understand – without jumping to conclusions.
However, as I asked questions, he grew defensive and got up to leave. I asked him to stay and talk, but he was insistent on leaving – and that’s where my attitude went to Hell. I called my Dad a liar, a coward, and questioned his respect for his kids.
Yeah, that’s right, I didn’t say I felt, or that he was acting like, or that he looked like – nope. I went there. I made the accusations. I didn’t yell, didn’t use profanity, and wasn’t out of control – but I did tell him I’d never been more angry in my life. I failed.
My Dad took the high road and called me several hours later. He apologized for what he said, as did I, and he apologized for making the decision without talking to us first.
I suppose I still have much to learn about being betrayed – and turning the other cheek.
In the meantime, I will continue reciting the Serenity Prayer – over, and over, and over again!