Originally Posted by rory
. . . I'm getting tired of this. Of feeling sad about the fact that he isn't able to accept me as I am. I don't want this in my life, I want to move on. My childhood was based around me trying to get acceptance from my parents, and I'm done with that. In general, I don't care what anybody thinks about me unless it's somebody close to me. I hate that I still give so much power to his thoughts, i.e. that he still has the power to make me so sad.
I don't know if I can move on while having the (almost but not quite non-existent) relationship we have now. But we can't really have more, and not having any kind of relationship at all feels sort of drastic.
Just as parents need to accept that their children are adults making their own choices, part of the growing up process is accepting that our parents are no longer our parents. It is possible to see them as just people. Yes, they are the people who gave us life, instilled their beliefs and values in us, loved us, nurtured us, and raised us, but they aren't parenting us anymore and at some point there has to be a disengagement from the emotional need for their approval. The only way I know how to do that is to stop thinking of them as our parents. Really, to step back a bit and start looking at them as almost strangers you are just getting to know. That doesn't mean we don't honor them and show respect for what they gave us, but it is a letting go of any romantic notions that they still have power over us. It can be done. I know people who have, and they have wonderful friendships with their parents because of it. I was able to do that with my father, which freed me a great deal from unhealthy attachment to him, but I couldn't completely do that with my mother. It's a process, but it starts with proactively choosing to see them differently.