I hate how they're so relative.

And yet, I cherish it at the same time.

It's part of what makes life interesting, after all. C and I have different perspectives on a great many things, though we most always manage to find a bridge between the two, or we find that they link together perfectly.

I read an article a while back (I linked to it somewhere in some post, but I'm not going to bother finding it again) about how we're not actually living in the present like we think we are, and how our memories change every time we remember them. That's part of why I like to blog-- it captures a snapshot of what I'm feeling and thinking at a given moment in time, so that later, when I've changed my mind (wait, I never do that! ^_^), I can go back and see what I thought/believed/felt/hoped for at that certain point.

It made me think more deeply about the nature of reality, and perception, and differing viewpoints. Think about it. (They use this argument in favor of the authenticity of the Gospel accounts, by the way.) If something happens, like an accident or a robbery, and several people see it, each person will have a slightly different account of what happened. They each bring filters to the situation that kind of determine what they will notice as important, what will stand out to them, and what will have an emotional impact. Same situation, different perspectives. Are they each wrong? No, not at all, but they certainly won't be a video-recording of what actually happened.

It's interesting that our modern world has gravitated so much towards the clear and unbiased reporting of fact, yet is still so stridently insistent that each person's perspective is unique and right and okay, all the while pressuring us to conform to a certain perspective. It's a mess. But interesting.

Probably as long as there are more than two people on this planet, someone will be "right" and someone will be "wrong". It happens. I don't think it's right (see?), but it happens.

And I know just as well as anyone else that I have my own filters that affect my perception of events. They can skew my understanding of a situation faster than you can say "Jack Robinson". (Although I don't know why you would say that...)

I have crazy filters and responses when it comes to situations with father figures. The situation with B really, really screwed me up. Trying to figure out my place in the S home and my relation to D (and his biological daughters!)... that was a mess. I think I did pretty good, but it was still stressful. I know that my perspective is subjective, and I know that my dealings with dads are greatly, greatly affected by my past history.

Take, for instance, the situation with R.

Yeah, remember that blog post that I never wrote? It was about R.

All that junk went down, and I flipped out. Old wounds and roles and complexes and coping mechanisms just sprang up out of nowhere, and I was lost.

I also admit that I was wrong.

To a point.

What happened, happened. It wasn't as bad as I had initially thought, but it was still... bad. I guess. Inappropriate? I mean, if C responded to situations in the same way that R does, I'd be gone. No doubt. I couldn't live with that in a partner.

Ahh, but R's not my partner. He's my dad.

And he is. Really. He's my bona-fide father, at least in my eyes. He's been the best father I've ever had, one of the few men that I can look up to and actually respect (Grampa being the other one that comes to mind, although I can't literally look up to him, since I'm taller). I ask him for advice, and he comes up with the most amazing things. He knows how to talk straight to me, yet comfort me at the same time. He rescues me over and over again and doesn't think twice. (Yeah, it hurts to swallow my pride and let him, but I'm supremely grateful for it.) He's just... I mean... he's a good man. And I love him. I'm actually tearing up as I write this, because sometimes it just hits me how good it feels to know that I have a dad, after all these years, you know? Someone I can trust, a protector, a strength... someone who will take care of my family because I'm not there to.

He's also human. He has his own filters, his own wounds and roles and complexes and all that. We all do. And so I understand why, in an intellectual sense, he sometimes throws down like he does. I don't like it, I don't like it one bit, but I get it.

But when K called me, when I heard what had happened (the highly emotionally charged, abbreviated version, of course! lol), it felt like I had lost my dad. It felt like the R I know and love had been whisked away and G had been planted right there into the scenario. It felt like I had failed to protect my family, but it also felt like gut-wrenching betrayal, because I'm not supposed to have to protect them from someone I trust?!

It felt like I had lost R, and G had come back again.

And what happened at Christmas the other year, that was inappropriate. I don't agree with how he responded at all, and I refuse to minimize it. It was abusive behavior, and it was wrong. You shouldn't treat the people you love like that. Does that make R an abuser? Not necessarily.

I know, I know, dichotomy. But I truly don't believe that R is abusive. I know I freaked out at first and thought that. I've changed my mind. My perspective changed. And that's okay. He does act in ways that are abusive sometimes. That's true. But he, as a person, as a father, as a husband... he's a good man. A good man with faults and wounds of his own. And he makes mistakes and bad calls and yeah, we suffer sometimes when that happens. But my dad is not an abuser.

Good grief, I'm glad to be able to type that.

But at the time when this "domestic dispute" or whatever went down, I felt like I had lost R. I had lost my dad. Again. F**K! Why does this keep happening? How could I have prevented this? Why did I ever trust him? Why did I ever love him? I should have seen this coming! Etc. etc. etc.

Truthfully, I was scared to talk to him. But... he called me (what was it, like a week later?), and... he was still R. He was still my dad. Still the same guy I know and love. And you know what? He brought up what happened, and we talked through it. I got his perspective, which I hadn't heard before. It helped me see the big picture more clearly.

Nope, it wasn't as bad as I had thought. Also, my emotions weren't as high then. Also, I was coming back out of the depression I'd been in, so I wasn't as emotionally high strung. Heh.

But no. It was still R. I hadn't lost my dad, after all.

After that conversation, and further conversations with Mom, my perspective did change. I thought R was an abuser for a while. I don't anymore. I still don't think that they've got all the wrinkles ironed out, and I think that there are definitely still some dysfunctional dynamics floating around that household, but considering where we all come from, can you really expect otherwise?! I also believe that the family is the healthiest now that it has ever been.

I really have a good deal of hope for my little family.

I wish I had blogged this a long time ago, actually. But the concepts were just so huge, and it was all still so emotionally charged... I just never could bring myself to do it. I didn't know how to wrap my mind or my words around it.

So... summary?

Bad stuff happened. I didn't have all the facts, and I was influenced by my past, and I freaked. I calmed down, R called and we talked, and I realized my error (while still maintaining that bad choices were made-- I'm not absolving anyone of responsibility, here!). Relationship restored, life moves on, and here we are several months later. (Also, since then Mom has had some perspective changes that have domino-effect changed my perspective. Like, how he and she approach money? He's not a miser, she's a big-time spender with no concept of how much money they were actually bringing home. Do you know how glad I am they worked through that?! It's been a source of contention for foreeeeeever.)

I love my dad. He's going to walk me down the aisle. He's going to be a stellar grandpa here soon. And I know he's trying really hard. And I also see the progress he's made, and I'm really proud of him.

So... I guess that's what I wanted to say about R.

Just wish I'd thought to say it sooner.

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