I have a friend. My friend has never had a good relationship with her dad. Growing up, he was really strict. She felt she couldn’t talk to him at all, about anything. He gave away very little in the way of affection. She still tried her best to impress him; trying to go above and beyond anything he’d ever expected from her. But how was she to know? He never told her what he expected from her. Other than quiet in the backseat.
As she got older, she still tried to please her dad. Telling him about her goals met and achievements earned. He’d shrug, “So you graduated Cum Laude? You know your cousin graduated Magna Cum Laude, right?”
Now that she’s an adult, she doesn’t even bother sharing anything with him. Well, sometimes. Other times (when she’s feeling extra proud of something), she’ll say “Check out this height ruler I made for the kids!” Then he’ll respond with something like, “You know people sell those at our craft shows.” Then she’ll wink and say something like, “Mine’s better though, right dad?” Confused, he’ll say, “Why is yours better?” Still undeterred, she’ll respond with, “You know? Because I made it.” He says matter-of-factly, “Those people make theirs too and theirs are good enough to sell.”
Then, she’ll say she’s never sharing anything with him again, ever. Then, she may drink her dinner and angrily vent to her husband, who’s come to expect it.
After all the drinking, and all the venting, and all the anger, she’ll get over it. And she’ll probably try again, relentlessly chasing the “I’m proud of you” she’s been looking for, for 31 years.