Thursday, December 03, 2009

daddy issues.. got em?

for most of my life i grew up thinking that my family was pretty standard. i mean, aside from the previous marriages (for both my mom and my dad) and having a brother i've still never met (he lives in germany).... i just always thought that my family was ... well..


you know, no real drama. nothing too crazy. everyone got along. parents were still married. normal.

i was 19 when i learned the first time that we were definitely not normal. every illusion i had had about what kind of family we were... what kind of people my family members were.. was broken. jagged bits of pieces stuck out of me everywhere and i tried desperately to put myself back together.

everything i thought i knew... every ounce of feeling safe.. every ounce of feeling anything normal... it was all gone. certain people wanted it all swept back under the rug it had just come from. rebury what was just unearthed. but this time, bury it further away. and deeper. and make sure that it never comes back to the surface. let's pretend it didn't happen. but mostly, let's never speak of it again. not even to eachother.

i wasn't sure i'd ever get past what i had learned. i wasn't sure things could ever go back to being.. normal again. how could it? how could things ever be the same, when nothing was the same anymore?

but time is a funny thing. what was once so blatantly screaming at you in the face for 24 hours a day... starts to stop. with time, that scream becomes a whisper. until you no longer hear it on a daily basis. you can't ever completely undo what has already been done. but apparently, this thing you've discovered.. this thing that changed everything you thought you knew about your family.. it grows quiet with time.

i was 30 when i learned again that our family wasn't normal. or wait, maybe we were. or at least maybe he was. typical male behavior. cheating. leaving. more broken shattered pieces of people left scattered on the pavement below.

for someone who never felt like she had daddy issues growing up... i sure have them now. to say what my father has done to my family hasn't affected me as a grown woman, would be a complete lie. i am affected. and it's all sorts of fucked up to think that you're going to be one of the rare ones who doesn't have parental issues.... like you got away unscathed. and you think you're in the clear- 30 years old.. if you weren't going to have parent issues by now, you weren't going to have them. BZZZZZZZZ! wrong ster!

so that brings me to this: it seems like almost every woman i know has some sort of daddy issue. their dad did something that screwed them all up. or affected them in ways they can't "fix." and so that begs the question... are all dads fucked up? can men just not get it right? or are all daughters looking for excuses for their messed up behaviors? do the women grow up and realize they can pin certain things on the men in their lives, so they point fingers at their dads?

i'm curious if you have daddy issues... or maybe mom issues. talk to me about them. get to spilling in the comments.


Meg said...

I'm with you. I think we all have Daddy issues. Do men blame shit on their moms? Just wondering.

I don't think it's so much that men are fucked up, I think it's that we're looking for an excuse. My daddy issues stem from having a preacher for a father. I was never allowed to think for myself or choose my own beliefs since they were forced on me. In addition to that, all the members of the church came before us in a way. If there was a family in need, my dad would drop what we were doing and take off to help some other family. I think it's noble to an extent, but it got old.

So I can't really answer you question, other than to say that I'm with you. Different circumstances, but issues all the same.

agirlnamedmel said...

I was just talking to Becky about this last night a bit. My mother and I have a horrible relationship. It's like she's happy to seem me fail and as a kid, always made it possible for me to "win" in life. To grow up and be a person of my own. I hold resentments because in therapy I've realized that this caused a lot of insecurities I have and why it's been so hard for me to take big steps in life but I'm trying not to place blame. I feel guitly and almost ungrateful for having a mother by doing so and by wishing I had had a good mother like so many others have. One that loves, supports them and walks them through life holding their hand. Not being resentful that their child may get to have more happiness in their life than she had.

My father issues are pretty bad too, but that's a whole other story. Yes, my parents were divorced. He struggled as a drug addict and although he's 16or 17 years clean now, i'll never forget the impact it had on my life and how I grew up with him being mostly absent. Also he doesn't act much different now. He has a new wife a stepson and stepgrandson now and they come first before his own blood and I tend to lose sleep over it.

I'm sorry things sucked for you. It's hard I know. No matter if the situation is different regarding how they fucked up, we all feel that pain in one way or another.

Kelly Miller said...

I totally have daddy issues, though these days they manifest more as sobfests when I see any touching daddy-daughter moments in real life or on tv. It can be quite embarrassing.

I don't think all men have issues, but many of them do. I don't know why that is. Maybe cycles of entitled, shitty men setting the example for their sons. Maybe doormat women excusing their sons' and husbands' behavior away.

I do know there's hope because my husband is a kick ass dad and would lay down his life for his kids. And his father was a horrible person. So the cycle can be broken -- if we decide to.

Grand Pooba said...

Well I certainly have daddy issues but not in the usual way. My dad was too perfect. I know what you're thinking but it's true. He's gay and growing up with a gay father you tend to believe all men should act sincere, respectful, kind, devoted and emotional. I thought all guys were like my dad.

Not real life.

Getting married I realized that it is not possible and my dad was special and there's no way I could find a husband like that. (If I want a straight dude)

So straight guys were a big dissapointment to me becuase of my dad. Now I'm trying to get used to the fact that just because my husband doesn't do those things my dad did, it doesn't mean he doesn't love me & blah blah.

Mommy issues? Definitely, I was the oldest sister and when my parents divorced my mom just checked out. I became the mother to her and my sisters. I still love her of course and like you said, time heals!

Thank God for time.

NGS said...

I have parent issues. They are still married, but their marriage is unhappy and has been for as long as I remember. I am angry at both of them for a variety of different reasons stemming from this fact.

I had a funny moment of clarity on the situation a couple of years ago, though. I'm a bit afraid of my father and I was stressing out about having to go visit my parents (and him, in particular) and my husband just looked at me and said, "what? he's not going to hurt you. He's old and frail and we could both outrun him and leave. What's the worst that could happen?" And my husband is right. I always think of my father like I'm seven and he's young and strong. And it's not like that.

Parental issues. Someday I'll have enough therapy to deal with it more effectively!!

Becky at lifeoutoffocus said...

i got plenty but you know them all. it's not me. it's totally my dad. i dunno wtf is up with most men.

and mel...ugh. your mom.

Heather@WHMB said...

Hmm, this is a great topic and one I think every person could respond to in some way. I suppose everyone, men and women, can have daddy and mommy issues. It's a complex web of emotions being raised and dependent on people, who are just as capable of fucking up and being human as we are now. But - they are OUR PARENTS! They can't do that. Then we get a little older and we start to separate the good from the bad, and really bad, and put it into perspective. Some of us get a grip on it and others, understandably so, take a little longer or are impacted much more tramatically. I love my parents for who they are, what they have done, or tried to do, and just have ultimately accepted them over time. My dad and I will never really have that emotional conversation I used to long for, but he was a great coach and taught me how to be respectful and have good manners. He smelled like booze most of the time, but he functioned and we made it through. I'm doing alright at this point in my life and choose to just thank him for what he was able to do, not what he didn't. So yeah - guilty, I've got issues, just like the rest of us. Just trying to remember I've got control of my own life now and keep on moving forward from that.

Lara said...

I think we just all have parent issues. Parents have an effect on their children - it's inevitable. Sometimes those effects are good, and sometimes they're bad. I have a lot of great stuff in my life because of my parents. But some of my issues are because of things that they did or didn't do when I was growing up. Not all - I have issues that come from peers and/or romantic relationships too. But in my parent issues, I don't think I have any more "daddy" issues than "mommy" issues - just general parent issues.

BonBon Rose Girls Kristin said...

Yup, got 'em. And I hope I moved past them. Lucky for me I chose to marry a man who is an amazing father. The antithesis of my dad!

j.sterling said...

i definitely think that our parents shape us whether we like it or not. hell, whether they like it or not. and when we grow up, we realize what things we've been exposed too and how those things have affected us.

i realize that the ways in which i'm apprehensive, or possibly untrusting, could stem from what my dad did to my mom so late in life- but i also realize that i'm allowing myself to feel that way. i think it's up to us to decide whether or not we're going to let certain things control us. i just wish it was that easy. i wish that we could realize, "this" pattern of behavior has instilled this pattern of behavior in myself.... or it has put the thought of "such & such" in me.. and i react this way because of it.
once we're aware, i wish we could just choose to NOT have it affect our lives. to be better people in spite of it. but it's the emotional aspect that fucks it all up. it's never easy because it brings out these emotions that can't be trusted, or counted on to always react the same way.

anyway.. i don't know what my point was. i think all your comments have made me think about the fact that we all try to take responsibility for our own actions, and we all are responsible for how we choose to live our lives. it's interesting how we can see clearly where the issue stems from and why we see it a certain way... yet, we still all strive to be better. we want to get through the issues... work past them..

i think that speaks volumes about what kind of people YOU are. :)

Alison said...

I'm grateful that my dad at least held it together until I was married with my own family before he twisted off. As you know, we had our bump in the road, but I've chosen to forgive and move on. Life is too short and I still think my dad is all kinds of awesome and needs to be shared with my children. :)

Kristen said...

Hey, I found you through Anissa's site :)

And in response to your question - yup, I've got Daddy issues too! My dad was/is an alcoholic, and one day when I was 14 my mom gave him a choice. Stop drinking and we will stay. Or, continue drinking and we will leave. He chose the liquor. Sooo needless to say it's taken me many many years to even BEGIN to work through that effed up situation!

I've never considered the fact that so many people have Daddy issues... And I wonder what us having Daddy issues means to our boyfriends/husbands. Do they get nervous that one day they'll give their daughters Daddy Issues?

Janine (@twincident) said...

hey! Just popping over as a friend of Anissa's. I have to say, the only dad issue I have is that mine passed away when my twins were just 3 weeks old. He was perfect. So much so that it made me look at my husband and hold him to a standard he'd never meet in terms of being a father to my children.

So, even with a loving, supportive, and perfect dad, I have daddy issues.

Shelley said...

I could likely write a book on this topic, but I'll try to keep it short. My dad was a control freak. Wouldn't let my mom cut her hair, wear make-up, work, etc. My mom had no friends because all she did was take care for my brother and I. My mom got a job after my brother and I went to school and started stashing money. My parents woke my brother and I up on a Sunday morning and told us we needed to choose who we want to live with. I was 10, my brother 11. My dad got hurt on the job and had several back surgeries and couldn't work. My mom died in a car accident when I was 13. My dad became depressed "checking out" 3-5 days a week almost every month. My brother left home as soon as he turned 18. My dad told him he had to cut his hair or leave. Stupid. Luckily, he had my grandparents to live with and was able to finish high school at the same school. I was left at home with my dad who was physically and emotionally abusive. It got worse after my brother left because I took all of the heat instead of the anger being split between my brother and I. I left when I was 17. Social Services said I didn't have to go back and a really good friend's parents took me in so I was not taken by the state. I took everything I despised in my life and made sure my dad's impression did not brand me. I put myself through college. I married a man who is so good to me and would never raise a hand to me no matter what. (Don't think I didn't test it out in the 8 years we were together before I got married!) My dad committed suicide 4 years ago. I am now 30. I also believe you are molded by your past, but you do have a choice. ALWAYS! Take the bad and turn it into something good. Make your life what you want it to be. No pity necessary. Things could always be worse.

Unknown said...
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Anne said...

I actually don't have any issues with my dad. Maxed out emotional pain? Call dad. Job problems? Call dad. Crying in front of a comedy show that I just saw, because the new job won't hire me because of an HR mixup? Call dad. My only problem is that I live so far away and I don't get to see him as often as I like.

Anonymous said...

My dad has me firmly convinced that I'm not capable of doing much of anything by myself.

That leaky faucet? You need to call a PLUMBER!

That broken light? You might ELECTROCUTE yourself!

Your own TOOLS!? You'd cut off a finger if you tried to saw anything on your OWN!!

Any my parents have for years talked about how hard my brother is to get along with. I bought into it for a long time. I've decided recently, though, that it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. He's difficult because he was always treated as if he was. Probably he's got more Father Issues than I do.

J from Ireland said...

Dad issues....nope. Mother issues....loads.
I just try to accept that they(her) did the best she could do, what with all her own shit. I love both my parents and accept their flaws, although this has only happened in the last year.

js said...

I think I got very lucky in this department. Out of all my friends, I am the only one that doesn't have Dad/Mom/Both issues. My parents were (are) amazing. They've always encouraged me, believed in me, been there for me. My mom taught me girl things, and my dad taught me boy things. I can change a flat, hang drywall, make a quilt. If I had to choose a flaw though it would be that my parents were TOO supporting. Got into major credit card debt when I was 19 and my dad bailed me out. Did it again at 21 and he bailed me out again. Needless to say, when I moved out for the first after I bought a home at 25, I was thrown for a loop. But he's still been there, not to bail me out, but to show me how to bail myself out. He's an amazing dad, and an even more amazing grandpa.

thisnewplace said...

I always thought we were normal too, and then all this stuff came out when we were out of college about our family and my parents splitting up, I realized how human they were and how non-nurturing they were...along with other stuff we can all probably list about our leads me to some good therapy sessions!

Grand Pooba said...


Mbdiamond said...

My "real" Dad still doesn't understand the meaning of the term. I've gotten over even being angry with him anymore... there's some things (like how to have a real realationship with ANYONE) that he'll just never GET. But my step-Dad was (is) the most amazing man in the world.

So YES to everyone having Daddy issues... and NO to every man in the world being messed up ;)

Spidey said...

No daddy issues here. *knocks on wood*

Anonymous said...

im from the Philippines and im a man... im 23 and living my own life. i dont believe in god but i know whats right from wrong and i hate my father so much but so what... i believe that no one goes thru this life unscratched... everyone has shit they dont like about their parents in one way or another... even the most religious god-fearing parents got issues that their kids dont like... no one is perfect and thats the shit that is constant in this world... everyone is fucked up and messed up so what we gonna do? there is no formula in living this life... no book out there thats says 'this is how' and 'this should be' in such situation... fucked up or not, i'll just live my life 'till i fade away...