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how to deal with emotional unavailability?

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  • #358264
    crawford
    Participant

    I have been struggling recently to understand my relationship with my father and it feels very irritating so i thought i should ask for help here, it has become more clear for me since i am healing and becoming more self-aware.

    I feel like my dad is emotionally unavailable and i have a hard time communicating with him. Sometimes when i speak to him alone i get immediately irritated and angry just by being in his presence. This is the thing, he does not usually really do or say anything that irritates me but it feels like i am speaking to something false, something feels off, like he is supressing years of emotion and baggage, my voice usually becomes different around him also. Not that i am afraid of him or that i change my voice because i get anxious but it just changes naturally to raspy and irritated without any logical reason. I feel like i don’t want to add any emotion to my conversation with him, but if don’t i either have to speak like a emotional stone to him which makes me feel bad also because it does not create genuine connection. It feel like whatever i do or say i will feel bad talking to him, especially when i speak to him one on one. I am not sure how to talk to him or how to make any change with him, usually people change with time and grow but sometimes it really feels like he has stopped growing and i have had the same relation with him since we were small kids and even though we grow and evolve he keeps being the same without any effort to create stronger connection or intimacy. Maybe it is intimacy which i feel is extremely hard with him, one part of me wants it by being emotionally open but another parts does not want to because it feels pointless and like it is wasted energy because he wont notice it or want to improve and worse even make me feel hurt. It is a weird situation and would love to hear some perspective and if anyone has any advice how to relate to such a situation. My dad is not violent or abusive but he might be very abusive towards himself and expecting everyone to just act happy and nice around him just because he puts up a facade where he acts happy and ”normal”, i can feel the anger and irritation coming off him sometimes even though he speaks like all is well. I think the emotional unavailability has to do with this emotional neglect towards himself. I even showed openly my irritation towards him today and it was like he didn’t even notice it at all or just ignored the fact i was irritated and angry with him. It is just the natural reaction in my body to feel this around him and i am trying to understand why. Someone who cares for emotional health would ask if there is something wrong and not just keep on talking like the other person is perfectly fine with you.

    Thank you advance!!

    F

    #358268
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Crawford:

    “my dad is emotionally unavailable.. feels like I am speaking to something false, something feels off… whatever I do or say I will feel bad talking to him.. he might be abusive towards himself.. he puts up a façade where he acts happy and ‘normal’… this emotional neglect towards himself. I even showed openly my irritation towards him today and it was like he didn’t even notice it at all.. (kept) on talking like the other person is perfectly fine with you”.

    To understand better and reply to you further, I ask:

    1. How is your father “abusive towards himself”?

    2. How did you show your irritation towards him today and what did you specifically say to him when irritated today?

    anita

    #358270
    crawford
    Participant

    1. I feel that my father supresses emotions within himself so that he does not have to be vunerable (ever) so the abuse im talking about is supressing and denying emotions in himself which makes it hell for everyone around him to get close or whenever you are close it makes one either have to tolerate to play into his illusion of no emotion and everything is fine or being oneself which feels like one has to naturally express irritation and distance towards him which he would probobly interprets as something which has nothing to do with him.

     

    2. The irritation i mentioned was nothing i expressed more the general mood around him. I naturally felt supressed, irritated and angry so i talked about school in a distancing and irritated tone even though the school subject was positive.

    #358272
    crawford
    Participant

    I was thinking that if i wont get better soon or i figure out some way bareable way to relate to him i will have to talk about this with him. It just feels very uncomfortable talking abiut feelings and emotions with him because he usually never talks about how he feels, neither do i with him.

    #358273
    crawford
    Participant

    Sorry for the spelling errors, noticed afterwards. Thanks for replaying Anita:)

     

    F

    #358281
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Crawford:

    You are welcome. You shared today that your father suppresses his emotions, therefore he is emotionally unavailable- meaning he is not available for you to connect to and therefore emotional closeness with him is impossible. He “puts up a façade where he acts happy and ‘normal'”, an “illusion of no emotion and everything is fine”, and even when you are angry with him and your anger is noticeable in your tone of voice, he acts as if you are perfectly fine with him.

    You wrote: “I was thinking that if it won’t get better soon, or I figure out some bearable way to relate to him, I will have to talk about this with him”-

    My thoughts: you can talk to him about what you shared here, but if he is and has been closed off emotionally for years, maybe throughout your lifetime, there is little chance that a talk with him will make a difference in how he operates.

    It is very frustrating to try to connect with someone who will not connect with you, especially when that someone is your father. And it is very frustrating to be angry and him not noticing. It feels.. almost like you don’t exist, doesn’t it?

    Humans are not robots, we are emotional beings, like other animals. Your father is trying to be robotic, that is, free of emotions. He can’t be a robot and he is not being fully human, so he is in between, in a way.

    If you do talk to him on the matter and you get nowhere with him, maybe you can pretend that he is a robot and connect with him as human-to-robot, respectfully but keeping the connection strictly rational. What do you think?

    anita

     

    #358295
    crawford
    Participant

    Yes, it does feel like i dont exist emotionally to him and thats what makes it so hard to speak to him because there is this feeling of fluctuation between wanting and not wanting. Being inbetween as you said. I will probobly have to talk with him about it but i dont think he actually will understand what im talking about since i suspect he has been supressing those feelings since he was a child and never found a way to deal with that side of him. Also it is hard effort because i have this strong bitterness from being denied my emotions by him and my mum since i was a child, i would love for him to see how beautiful it can be but with his emotional distance together with the bitterness makes the effort feel like lifting a million kilos with only hopes as result. If i knew he would want to work, that would atleast give some motivation but giving up on someone is something i have extremely hard time to do. Especially since he is my dad and i will be around him his whole life. Maybe some form of robotic communication will be the only option sadly, lets see what he says when i talk to him.

    #358296
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Crawford:

    I like the way you express yourself, you have a good understanding of your father. You probably understand him better than he understands himself. But unfortunately, because he has been this way for decades, from the time before you came into his life, he is very unlikely to change. Your bitterness over him being emotionally unavailable will lessen if you no longer hope for him to be any different.

    Your bitterness over having been denied your emotions by your parents will lessen as you express your emotions to people who are emotionally available  and healthy outside your home of origin.

    “with his emotional distance together with the bitterness makes the effort feel like lifting a million kilos with only hopes as result”- good imagery: trying to change your father is like lifting a million kilos, impossible for you and impossible for any human!

    Keep your expectations very low regarding the talk you plan to have with him. I hope you post about that talk, I would like to read about it.

    anita

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