In anticipation of speaking with my alienating parent, I have been advised to set my intentions carefully and clearly; this is so that I do not get sidetracked in arguing smaller points.
I want to prepare for this conversation with my father, in order to avoid flailing words at him or letting my emotions take over. I don’t want to allow him to hijack the conversation, stonewall me, or point the finger at everyone but himself.
But I also know I cannot control his reactions, only my own. This is a new position for me, to let go of my father’s response, after decades of taking his emotional temperature.
So with my own intentions crystal clear, finally, I will have this long overdue conversation. In the end, I want to know I did my best to speak my own truth and then I want to move forward, freely.
My intentions are:
*To let him know I refuse to pretend my mother does not exist. This does not mean I will be sharing details of our reconnection, but that I will not go out of my way to avoid mentioning my mother to him or to my stepmother or sisters. It stops now.
*To let him know that the book I am writing is indeed a memoir, and not a novel as he has called it in the past, and also to make it clear that I am writing my story from my own creative and authentic desire and also as a way to help others. It is not all about me. Nor is it all about him. “Parental alienation” is a terrible epidemic of psychological child abuse, and I believe I am assisting others with my story. My professional and creative work does and will continue to include speaking and writing on this topic. He is not expected to share in my interest nor read or comment on any of it. But I will not apologize for the work I feel called to do. My intentions have nothing to do with retaliation and everything to do with truth and empowerment and healing-for all those affected.
*To find out as soon as possible if his acceptance of me is contingent upon my silence and compliance with his wishes. If speaking and writing my truth will result in his rejection, I would like to know now so that I can move on without him in my life. But I hope he will recognize the opportunity for his own healing; it will require him to hear me though, for the first time.
*To reach a place of peace and forgiveness, with or without his cooperation. This includes forgiveness of myself for taking so damn long to have the courage to speak up with clear and firm intentions.
If I keep those intentions in mind as I initiate this conversation, I think I stand a good chance of saying what needs to be said. The truth shall set you free. I say it’s about time.