This seemly innocent comment struck deep, but you might as well have said, "What kind of a worthless man sits around the house meditating and taking care of the kids? It doesn't matter how much money you have, you'll never be a Real Man -- like me -- until you do something worthwhile in the world."
"You've been feeding me this same crap since I was a kid," I said. "I quit my job because I hated it; and unlike you, I wanted to spend time with my children."
So easily, so smoothly, without thought or volition, I fell back into those old, familiar dance steps. My unspoken message was: You were always inadequate, a lousy father; you abandoned me, and I'll never forgive you.
"I thought you weren't going to do this anymore," you replied angrily. "I've paid for my mistakes, and it's about time you realized it. So I'm telling you for the last time: Just knock this sh*t off."
Two to tango. What you really meant was, "Quit whining. The only problem here is that you're too weak to get over things that happened thirty years ago."
Without warning, you were possessed by a fit of blind rage. You stepped close, started poking me in the chest, and screamed in my face. "All that crap you did to me as a child is still going on. You're still bullying me."
When I registered the charges you were hurling at me, and the rage behind them, my frustration overflowed its banks, and I also began to shout.
"I have told you a hundred times how sorry I am for the pain I caused you by abandoning the family thirty years ago, but I thought we agreed: No more guilt trips."
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