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A note to my parents

Much to my great sadness, the conflict between my parents continues, and I am feeling like I am stuck in a place that is both deeply emotionally involved and yet completely ineffectual. My mother keeps calling me, and trying to ask me for help without asking me. She is petrified that my dad is going to leave HER because of what HE’S done, if she tells me any details. My father is hiding and is acting as if nothing is wrong with me, and in the same breath is threatening my mother not to tell ‘the kids’ about what he’s done. Well guess what dad — she doesn’t have to tell us for us to know.
I need to have a conversation with my parents, both of them in the room, together. I need to tell them how much this is hurting me. It would go something like this:
Mom, Dad. I want you both to know that I love you. I am witness to a situation in your lives that is causing me great pain. I feel pain of compassion for your situation, but I also feel my own pain in relation to your situation. I feel pain when mom calls me on the phone, reaching out for somone to soothe her pains and to solve her problems and to help her reach peace. She asks me for help without asking me. She tells me everything without giving me a single detail. I feel her pain and I am pained by it. I hear that she wants to tell me everything and yet she’s afraid that if she does, Dad, you will leave her. She is burdoned by your shame, and is the implement of your secrecy. She calls me because I listen to her, because I love her openly, and because I hold no secrets from her. But the truth is, it isn’t me that she wants to be comforted by. It isn’t me that she wants to solve her problems. It isn’t me that she needs to be told by that everything is going to work out. It’s you, Dad. And you are unavailable to her in the same way that you are unavailable to me. I feel pain because I have no ability to make my mother feel any relief from her grief. I feel trapped by her grief. I cannot solve your problems Mom.
Dad, I feel pain because I feel your inability to be available to mom, and to me, and most importantly to yourself. I am in pain because I feel an inability to be real with you — your deceit and your duplicity is an elephant in the room between us. When I call on the phone and I ask you how you’ve been, you tell me ‘fine’, as if you’ve been cruising along at freeway speeds, open lanes and sunny afternoon. You tell me this when you know full well I’m aware that it’s icy road conditions, and you are speeding on bald tires with a bottle of Jack Daniels in your belly, and a deathwish in your head. The evidence is plain on the table that you have not been faithful to mom, and yet you lie to me for no other reason but to save yourself from looking at yourself. You tell mom to keep all of this secret from ‘the kids’, and you threaten her in the process. This is very painful to me. It is painful that you are so unwilling to admit that you are on the skids. It is painful to me that you cannot be honest with me when all I ask is how you’ve been. I feel like you do not even tell yourself just how fucked up things are for you. I feel like you are lost to me, even in your life. To me, it is as if you are already dead. I find it impossible to talk to you without feeling the dread of your loss. And thus, I am forced into my own duplicity. To talk to you as if everything is fine with me — I am telling you now, it is not.
I ask that you both hear me, and you see my pain. I do not want to be between you in your problem. I do not want to be called to solve it, nor do I want to be lied to about it and told that nothing is wrong. I want to be respected and in that respect, I want you to be honest with me and I hope for your own sakes that you can be honest with yourselves, and allow that honesty to feed your agency and allow you to move into directions of resolution. But mostly, I need you to respect me and allow that respect to drive your agency towards honesty and compassion towards me. You cannot keep me from being involved in this — you have already involved me. You cannot hide the truth from me — you have already shown me. I am not asking for your details, or your compliance. I do not wish to be your savior or your councilor. In fact, I request specifically that I am not these things. I ask that you allow me to be your son, and in that allow me to love you. I ask you to respect me as a man, and treat me with honesty. If I ask you if you are okay, and you are not — do not lie to me. If you don’t want to tell me the details — you can say just that. But do not lie to me like a coward afraid of your own feelings and tell me everything is okay. And do not ask me, implicitely or explicitely, to solve your problems. I cannot, and I will not. I will listen to you, and I will feel compassion for you, and I will love you. But I will not be your private investigator, your interrogator, your spy or your thug. You must do your own heavy lifting. If you need an assist, and you ask for it, I will be there to spot you. I will not, however, carry your burdon — that belongs to you.
I am sad, and I am weary, and I need to be just your son. I wish for you the strength and resolve to find resolution to your issues. I wish for you the self-love to be honest and to allow yourself to be exposed in order to heal.
Know that I love you both, and I will always love you.
Josh

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