Waiting for Godot§

writer: russell j.t. dyer; posted: October 27, 2008; revised: April 24, 2018; readers in past month: 567

Paul Dyer with Russell
December 1964

As a boy I used wonder when my father would return — he died when I was three years old. I lived my life in those years with expectation that when I least expected him, he would come home. While I knew that he was dead and that death was final, I still expected him to come back. In part I felt that he was Dad, he was Pop, and therefore he was a god: he could not be kept from me. He would defy death and come home to me. Also in part, while I accepted that one aspect of him was gone, I still felt that the part of him that was not dead would come back. This may suggest a spiritual sense. However, I had no comprehension of what that might be, of what his physical aspect might be as a separate entity: everything was one to me at that cognitive level. Still, whatever was said to have died I had accepted as gone forever. Nevertheless that’s no reason that my father, that the good part of him could not return, which is all there was to him. This, of course, means that I had no true comprehension of death and no understanding of the spirit versus the body.

In times when I’ve broken from a woman after having been in a serious relationships with her, I’m fraught with conflicting emotions. The part of me that is logical and mature, the parent to the child in me, will try to maintain control of the situation: I will try to convince the boy in me that breaking up with the woman is the right thing to do. I’ve learned from experience that trying to separate myself from someone I love is impossible if the boy in me is not in agreement. Said without the pop-psychology terms of the inner child, if my brain (i.e., rational thinking) says the relationship is not working, but my heart (i.e., emotional thinking) says that I love the woman and don’t want to lose her, don’t want to be alone, then it is difficult for me to end the relationship. Not only do I not end the relationship quickly and decisively, but the woman (if she doesn’t want to lose me) will sense my lack of resolve and will appeal to me emotionally (i.e., to the boy in me) not to leave her. The result is a drawn out and less than admirable break-up. I wish these women would realize that I’m not happy and make it easy for me, but they don’t and I shouldn’t expect them to when I’m hurting them.

When a woman does something to hurt the boy in me (e.g., cheat on me, or simply tell me that she wants to leave me — even in passing or as a threat), it’s much easier for the boy in me to let go of her. It doesn’t take much to reject him or for the woman to lose him as her advocate in the relationship. Once this is done, if the adult side of me can keep her away from him (i.e., if I can ignore her emotional pleas or her attempts to show affection), I have a chance of making a permanent break. This is why when I separate from a woman I often times try to avoid all contact with her: by phone and especially in person. The boy in me is weak during these times.

What that boy within me is feeling is similar to how I felt about my deceased father as child. The boy accepts that the girl is bad for me and that she’s been expelled from our life. However, he still waits for her to return — not the bad parts of her, but the good parts, the parts of her that made us feel good. He misses that her. It’s a long time after a separation before I can convince the boy in me that there’s no good-her and bad-her: there’s only her. I can’t have what I like about her without taking what I don’t like about her. And if what I don’t like about her is too significant, too hurtful to me, too dominating in her, too much of a problem for me — whatever the undesirable traits may be for me — then the relationship can’t work and she can’t come back. It’s sad to the boy in me, to me, but I know that that’s how it is.

Friends will tell me during these times when a break-up is being dragged out to just be a man and end it. The man in me agrees completely, but it’s a mess owing to the unruly boy within who is crying. At times like these, I wish I could be cold, or at least unified in my thoughts and actions. But that’s not me and I’m not convinced that me boyish nature having some sway is all that bad even if it can be troublesome and embarrassing at times.