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View Diary: Daughter of a Southern 'Gentleman' (88 comments)

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  •  I am so sorry (22+ / 0-)

    My father was not a Southern Gentleman but he was sexist and abusive.  If I said something was white, he was gonna say it was black and insist on that until I gave in, for the sake of peace and because I like to eat and sleep.

    In retrospect, I think that he was simply afraid that he could not control himself and sought to control those around him. And he reflected the culture around him.  He died 40+ years ago when I was 20, and I have been trying to forgive him ever since.  Just when I think I have finally done it, I run up against some attitude or self image or whatever, that reminds me of how long his influence really is.  

    So I am sorry for your father and his attitudes and actions. All you can do is understand that he will only change in his own time ... which may be never.  The more you stand up for your own thoughts, the more he is going to retrench.  That does not mean that you have to put up with his attitude ... you can set your boundaries and quietly (but firmly) disengage before it gets to the abusive stage.

    He is lucky you are as loving and tolerant as you are.   Parents and other family adult figures have to respect the fact that children (of whatever age) are their own persons with their own feelings and thoughts .. they are not clones or empty slates.  I am big on respect flowing both ways, from the parent to the child and from the child to the parent, but it has to start with the parent.

    Sorry if I got on my hobby horse, but I am holding my first grandchild and wishing that I could have more influence about the way he is raised. My D-i-L is big on children trying to please and enhance their parents and I am big on helping children follow their own interests and become their own person. I guess I'm dealing with letting go and trying to be the cool granny.

    Good luck

    "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

    by CorinaR on Fri May 18, 2012 at 11:19:10 AM PDT

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