My parents got divorced when I was around the age of 8. Following the divorce I don't think my dad and I spent more than 5 days together, I never needed, wanted or expected anything from him. That's until I turned 17, got my driver's license and wanted a car. This is when I decided to play the dad vs. mom game that all us children of divorce like to do. I decided that this would be a great opportunity to ask my dad for something, considering the fact that he pretty much missed everything of my childhood. I spent the next two weeks talking to my dad pretty much every day and somehow managed to swindle him into buying me a brand new Honda Civic.
Well I got my car and life was great. I was happy as a clam to be driving around and I felt like I had done the smart thing by sweet talking my dad into buying it for me. However, looking back I know things were not as they seemed, the whole experience changed me. It had a lasting effect on my life because It was the first time I have ever pushed a little too far and manipulated someone into doing something for me. My innocence was gone and I was left with a cold, sorrowful heart because of what I had done in order to get that shiny new car I had wanted so badly. I know that innocence doesn't last too long in this day of age but it saddens me to think that the first person I "used" was my father.
I feel like having my dad buy me the car and then leaving him emotionally high and dry was something that put a huge strain on our relationship. Granted, our relationship was never anything more than a birthday phone call and cards in the mail every once in a while, but I have the feeling that he had hope for us after all that time I spent talking to him. We have never been able to fix that estranged relationship and in my opinion it is even worse off than it ever was when I was in my youth.
To this day I still feel extreme guilt about the entire car situation. Not only do I feel bad about making my dad feel like he owed me something but I also feel guilty about how I treated him afterwards. I pretty much used him and forgot about him for a long time after. Even though I am proud to say that I have never done that to anyone else it is still something I am not proud of. There is nothing worse than feeling ashamed and unfortunately that is probably the biggest thing holding me back from communicating with my dad.
All in all this I have had to come to terms with what I did. Teenage years are really hard years to navigate and I hope that my parents both expected a little bit of bad decision making. In my book I have to just chalk this up to stupid, selfish, teenage behavior and call it a day. I'm sure that one of my three children will do something of the same sorts to me someday, and that will probably be the day that I truly forgive myself.