Perfect Dads have Perfect Sons
Co dependency has many different levels and take many different routes. The road isn’t always clearly signposted. However there are some signals that may not make sense at that time but may well help inform future processes.
Many years ago when Dave’s nephew was just a little kid playing with plastic dinosaurs and toy racing cars, he was asked to take him to the birthday party of one of his little school friends. The kids there did what kids do at parties, they ran wild, ate lots of sweets and played games. The parents caught up with each other and talked about life, car trouble and holidays.
Dave didn’t really know any of the parents so kept to himself and just passed himself off politely when spoken too. Another man there however caught his attention. Tall, good looking, well-groomed and very well spoken. He stood apart from the other parents and seemed to concentrate on one little blond haired boy running wild with the other kids. Every now and then he would call to him things like, “That’s ok you let her have that I’ve one here for you”, or, “Fix your shirt, that’s your good one Grandma bought you” and so on. When others spoke he never took his eyes off the little boy but would reply hello or answer something completely different. He tended to just leave them standing there.
One of the mums approached Dave and told him he was a very successful self-made man. She joked about how his perfect family and how he thought they were better than everyone else.
Then the kids played musical chairs. The idea being that the children walk around chairs in the middle of the room while music is played. When the music stops they all have to sit down. Whoever doesn’t get a seat is out of the game. A chair is removed each time and the last person to sit down when the music stops wins.
So went the mad stampede for a chair. When the music stopped the child who lost was given a little toy so they wouldn’t feel left out. Then on one round the little blond boy was the one left standing. As one of the parents gave him a toy his dad took it, handed it back to them and led him back. He told him it’s okay son you get another go. Everyone looked at each other speechless. Then the music started up again and of the kids went round the chairs again. This time when the music stopped two children were out of the game.
This happened two more times. Still no one said anything. The boy’s dad was oblivious to everyone else in the room saying, “It’s okay son you’re allowed another chance”. At one point one of the parents went and took their daughter by the hand and said they had to leave early. This was getting tense.
Eventually only the little blond boy and the birthday boy were all that was left. So round they went with only one chair until the music stopped and birthday boy jumped up on it. Everyone cheered and said well done. Everyone except the man who said, “I don’t think that was fair perhaps we should get them to go again….”
This went on for another four times. Each time the birthday boy won the other kid’s dad complained it wasn’t fair because he was bigger, the music stopped at the wrong time or the tension was confusing his son. More and more parents left shaking their heads and muttering about this man’s behaviour. Dave said he would have liked to have known what happened in the end but he had to get his nephew home.
Perfect dads have perfect sons. This man seemed lack self awareness, had no idea how he seemed to others. Either that or he didn’t care. All that mattered was his son winning and I wonder if him not winning was more a reflection on him. The little boy on the other hand, according to Dave’s nephew has grown up with no resilience for things like disappointment or compromise. He has a zero sum game view of the world where it’s all or nothing and dad is always right. His relationships never last and it’s always the other persons fault they fail. He never apologizes, rather he explains why something had to happen. He’s perfect. Just like dad.
This article was written by sentientcounselling