I’ve been thinking a lot about daddy issues.
I’ve always try to avoid thinking of myself as having daddy issues and thinking about the ways they affect my relationships. But I think it’s time for me to really think about what’s happening and what I can do about it. I’ve always been a huge proponent of the “grow the fuck up and get over it” method when it comes to daddy issues, but I can’t seem to get over it and I can’t stop making the same mistakes over and over. And I’m ashamed of that.
Last night I went out to dinner with a friend who is getting a divorce. She said she was worried about her daughter and she said she thought of me. That made me sad and embarrassed; it’s like the poster child of daughters without fathers. That’s not what I want to be. I never wanted that to define me.
For me, as a child of a single parent, I overcame every obstacle in front of me except for when it comes to relationships and marriage. When I was younger, I imagined that I would meet my husband in grad school and we would get married. By the time I was a third or fourth in my PhD program (read: now), I would be pregnant so that I would not have to miss any time once I started working. But in reality it didn’t work out that way. And honestly you can’t plan a future that involves someone else without that someone else. And so now I’m wondering what do I plan and can I even plan it. I’m leaning towards no and that scares me.
A friend once try to understand my relationship with my father and assumed that he put me down and that is why I make these bad that relationship decisions. But in reality, I don’t think my father has ever even scolded me and he always is bragging about how great I am. My father always tells me that he loves me and my father always is affectionate. He’s just not always around.
In my research on nonresident daughters and in the few interviews I’ve conducted, I’ve found that a lot of us would chase our fathers around when we were younger. That we would make sure he was in our lives by literally tracking him down every time he disappeared and making him come back or talk to us. And so we are now well equipped to deal with boyfriends and husbands who disappear when they want to. We are experts at chasing men around because we’ve been doing it since we were children. And I think that part, perhaps, is almost more comfortable to me at this point then healthy functioning relationship. I know what to do with the man disappears I don’t know what to do when a man is present and attentive. It freaks me out. And I know that everything I just said sounds totally crazy to people who can function in healthy relationships, which is normally people who grew up with their father’s people.
Believe me no one wants me to get over my daddy issues more than me. I can recognize when I’m doing things that aren’t healthy.
Another thing my friend said to me about the divorce was that she was afraid that this is teaching her children not to advocate for what they want from their father, or really from anyone, because they might leave you if you do. I had to sit and think about that for a minute because I never realized how much I believe that. It’s funny (but not really), that this situation just happened to me this weekend when I told my not-boyfriend what I wanted from him and he disappeared. And I’m thinking about how pervasive that is in my life and how I always had a hard time verbalizing to people what I need because I was always afraid. And it makes me angry to think that fear of advocating for what I want and consequently getting what I want came from my father. It’s a tough pill to swallow. Although I know I’ll never get what I want if I don’t ask, I have had so many experiences where I don’t get anything even if I do ask. Now I’m sitting here wondering how do I change that.
My friends always say if you ask the guy for what you want him he’s not willing to give it to you to leave him. Logically I understand that. The plan is not to stay with someone that can’t (or won’t) give you what you need, but in the end you’re alone. Where we differ is that the thought of being alone doesn’t scare them as much as it scares me. Their logic is that there’s always someone else and so don’t worry about that. But I also don’t have the belief that someone is right around the corner, even though in my life normally someone who has been. I guess this is the first time I’ve actually thought it about it that way (hello breakthrough).