“Honor your father and your mother”

I think it could go without saying that every world religion has some sort of written mandate on how one is supposed to treat one’s parents. In the Bible, Exodus 20:12 says, “Honor your father and your mother.” In other words, respect them, treat them well, and (arguably) obey what they say.

But what are you supposed to do when you are grown adult child, yet your parent acts like a child? Or, even worse, they barely even acknowledge you and act like you aren’t even there?

I came home after a long bus ride back from Napa today and arrived at the house. My dad was home, on his computer as per usual, and I came in and said hi. He said nothing. He continued watching his YouTube video. I thought maybe I didn’t speak loud enough. I said hi again a second time. Still no response. I said, “Hey! Are you okay?” And he finally looked up for a moment, still failing to make eye contact with me, and said, “Oh, I was just watching something on the YouTube.”

Yeah, no kidding. He was so busy watching YouTube, which he does all day anyway unless he has errands to run, yet his daughter is only in town for a few days, and he cannot even look up to say a proper “hello.” I was trying to keep my voice level and not say anything too passive aggressive, but I could feel my blood pressure going up.

Being antisocial is what my dad is — he doesn’t have any social skills at all to the point where it is painful to observe, but not being able to say hello is just downright ridiculous and not excusable. I always wonder how it is that a person could turn out this way, and if we really could blame their “upbringing” as so many people always resort to. Or, is it that at a certain point, it’s really on the individual to take the responsibility for what they lack. I try to accept it for what it is because I know I will never be able to change him, my mom, or anyone really, but it is vexing beyond comprehension in some moments. I feel like I want to shake him sometimes and say, “WHY IS IT SO HARD FOR YOU TO DO SOMETHING SO BASIC AND HUMAN?”

I am powerless and cannot do anything to change the situation.

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