Expecting Perfect Reactions - Relationships and OCPD
As I wrote about in my last post, I had dental work done that left me in some pain. I live far away from my Dad, and don't really visit, so I write my Dad emails, letting him know updates on my life.
The last one mentioned how I got two teeth out, and how it hurts etc... along with news about my life.
I got a email back that didn't mention the teeth at all, didn't offer hopes of healing, or really respond to anything I wrote. It just was a update on his new wife and step-son. And their cat.
I was hurt and confused. Did he read it at all? Does he care? Am I overreacting?
Maybe. But what I took away, besides a bit of hurt feelings, is that I can't expect a "perfect" reaction from others. People take things in differently, and respond back in all kinds of ways. I can't let others disappointing reactions taint whole relationships, or get me too far down.
It's not that I am unlovable, or crazy, or that my Dad is a bad person. My OCPD mind wants to take it to an extreme, totally cutting off my Dad from my life to deal with my disappointment.
But, you know, life doesn't have to be all or nothing. People, myself included, don't fit neatly into the "perfect" or the "failure" categories. It's a lot more grey. So I feel a little hurt, in both my heart and my teeth, but accept that my Dad isn't perfect in his response. But he doesn't get lumped into the "failure" pile, far from where his imperfection can hurt me.
I'll email him again soon, and keep connected to him, despite little pinpricks of sadness that can bring.