I had a conversation the other day about my dad & I felt it was life altering. So many choices I’ve made and how I feel about things has a lot to do with the voids of my father.
I’m just like the average girl from the ghetto. My dad wasn’t a part of my life. Since its so common where I grew up, I never realized how much it affected me. Truly, I am broken because of the absence of a male figure. And I’ve been trying to do some deep healing so that I can become as whole as possible. Many people suffer from childhood issues, especially involving their family structure and or issues they developed from traumatic experiences with their parents/family members.
My experience didn’t appear so dramatic. My father was on drugs most of my life. As a kid, I would call and ask to speak to him (He lived out of state) and several times, he’d just tell me he didn’t feel like talking. Or I’d just be on hold forever and eventually one of my aunts would come to the phone and say, “He’s not coming to the phone.” Several times, we’d plan to see each other and he wouldn’t show up. Wouldn’t call. Didn’t know my birthday, or how to spell my name. Or what my interests were. He eventually found out that I could sing and that was the only thing we could really talk about. In my teenage years, around 16, I started to be in contact with him. But those conversations quickly turned sour as the inappropriate conversations began. For the sake of privacy, I won’t share anything further, but I will say that being spoken to in a sexual tone by my own dad did more damage than I thought it did at the time.
The interesting thing is, it didn’t make me hate him. On the contrary, I felt sorry for him and although I was angry and didn’t speak to him for years afterwards, I always prayed for him and hoped he was doing ok. Eventually, we reconnected and we were on speaking terms. Then we’d have a pointless argument and stop taking and it just sort of repeated.
I kept wanting to have a dad. I kept wanting to keep a relationship with him so I could feel like a piece of that void that I had could be filled by him. I traveled to see him with high hopes of getting to know him as an adult. It just turned out to be another let down. But the issue wasn’t really with him, it was with me. Hoping and wishing and praying that he could be someone other than who he is. I gave myself high expectations, only to be let down by the reality that he is who he is and not much about that is going to change.
We’ve had a “hello” & “goodbye” relationship since then. One thing I’m happy about is that I got to yell at him and curse him out while he’s still alive. I got to tell him he was wrong. I got to tell him that it hurts that he wasn’t there. I got to tell him the way he talked to me wasn’t appropriate. I got to tell him that it affected me how he wasn’t there. And all the years of frustration that I held in trying to avoid that conflict and instead love the hurt away or pretend it wasn’t that serious, it all came out. At first, I felt great. It was a release. Then, I felt horrible. And now, I’m at peace with it.
Recently, I had a few conversations about my dad and I came to a place to understand that what my dad did is maybe not something that can be fixed. Maybe he’s the kind of person that you just love at a distance. Maybe forgiveness is enough and to walk away is the most intelligent choice.
All the times I dated someone for affection, attention, to take care of me, to tell me things that they never did, to game me up with false ideas and dreams, I think it all came from the absence of that love. I was never daddy’s girl. I never saw my mom interact with my dad in loving ways. I never saw them resolve conflict. I never saw my mom depend on someone to take care of her. Nor did I see her asking permission, or checking in with someone. My mom carried the torch. So what I grew up learning is that women do everything. Women make their own choices. Women pay their own bills. Women take care of their kids. And as I got older, when a man would offer any of those things to me, I was eager to see what it was like, because I had never really seen it or experienced it. No man bought me presents or gifts as a kid. So when a man did that, I was thoroughly impressed. All my aunts that lived near me were also single parents. Their husbands were no longer in the home and had never been since I had been a kid. None of the boys in my family had their dad in the house. NONE of them. So they were broken too.
My sense of family structure is jaded. Jaded by the absence of my dad, seeing my mom over-compensate and over-nurture, from the perverted conversations my dad tried to have with me amongst other things he did, from lack of family structure in my family in general, and then by my own choices to be fast, impulsive and to finally have male attention.
To know that these piece of me are incomplete means I have to be 10 times more aware of why I respond to things and people and their advances. I have to be extremely careful when dealing with men, not only to watch them carefully and to be a great judge of character of their intentions and beyond, but also to make sure that I’m not imposing on them to play the role of my dad. I have to make sure that I’m not being over-dominating in my approach and that I don’t take on too much of the responsibility to make things come together as I saw with my mom growing up.
These conversations that I had made me reevaluate what my attractions are. They made me start thinking about being too forgiving and negligent. And they’ve inspired be to be a lot more cognizant of my choices.
It took a lot for me to write this. I’m not necessarily proud that this is my story. But I thought, if I could learn these things and try to fix myself, maybe someone else could also learn from my story.
Please excuse any typos. I’ll be going back to edit a few of my posts.
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