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Daddy Issues? Maybe.

Peace. I want to preface this entry by saying that while I am not sure if I love or even like my father, I have always admired him for making himself successful despite his limitations. I know he’s had his struggles and continues to deal with them. But I can’t rightly say it brings me to a point of compassion towards him. It’s difficult for me to write this post. I’ve been wondering if being this bare about a deeply touchy subject would open me up to some ridicule or heavy criticism. I don’t know what the words following will mean for you, but I am totally doing this to clear my head.


I don’t know if what I have qualifies as “daddy issues” as the term itself seems to be traditonally used with women (and I’m not sure if it’s an accepted term) but to say I have a sore and difficult relationship with my father would be an understatement. Ever since my parents split up when I was in 1st grade, the chasm between Father and Child(ren) has grown to an unhealthy monstrosity that I attempt to shove deep into the background.  I’ve not been able to totally ignore his presence in the world as he’s never lived more than 60 minutes from me at any point of my life. Still, that hasn’t translated into anything resembling a relationship. It’s been painful, it’s been jarring and I’d say it’s the greatest disappointment of my life.

I know I have something connected to and surrounding missing fatherhood because whenever I witness living or fictional examples of it, I’m moved by seeing it in action.  Movies like Field Of Dreams, Sleepless In Seattle, Finding Nemo, The Lion King, The Road and even Big Fish all get me extremely choked up to the point I can barely watch them. It’s so painful to watch something I’ve never got to experience – the closeness of a father and child. I can’t even begin to fathom what that’s like. It embarrasses me to admit that I still secretly wish my father would call me for a game of catch. If my dad called me right now, I’d drop everything to be with him. I’d do almost anything to make it happen. And it simply will not. I have to accept that whatever I need or want from my father isn’t due to me any longer.

I know to my family and friends I may seem despondent or caustic towards my father but it’s just a reaction to the rejection. The pure truth is that I wish my father would act like I existed. Nothing was worse than this year when he called me ON HIS BIRTHDAY to wish me a belated birthday (Our birthdays are a week or so apart). I was let down even further when he answers a voicemail I left him with a text! I have suffered so much disrespect from this man and I just want him to face me straight up and tell me why he didn’t want me or us (my other siblings). Remember this scene from The Fresh Prince? I know exactly what he was feeling there.  Almost word for word. My dad would promise gifts and trips and visits and I got absolutely nothing. I remember when my mom finally got the child support to go through; I offered my dad my portion of the support check to spend time with me. I didn’t care about money or any of that, I just needed my father.

I can’t write anymore. I’m crying and barely seeing the screen and I’m full of so much hurt. But what do you do with this energy? Do I keep hoping he’ll build a bridge with me? Do I hold out hope that my dad will remember I’m his firstborn? I can’t bank on it so I have to find a way to close this gaping wound in my heart and soul.



9 Responses

  1. “Daddy Issues” is the appropriate term and it is accepted widely. Your father may never come around but you take that energy and you put into your own relationship with your children when you have them. You know what you missed and you don’t want that for your kids, so you will be an AWESOME father. What you wrote is an example to men who don’t interact with their children, it does leave a lifelong wound and some people don’t understand that. So you stand as a wonderful example of what missing father miss out on (you a good dude) and the pain that they cause their children. I hope my words comfort. Peace!

  2. i can relate to this so much.
    while my father never ignored my presence,
    he did make it known that his presence in my life
    (and of his siblings and my sister)
    was based on us liking his wife
    and not bringing up anything he did wrong in the past.
    i stopped talking to him last year,
    in fear of having the “why did you leave us and choose her” conversation
    and being rejected by him.

    when i saw the episode of the fresh prince,
    i bawled.
    when i see men with their kids,
    active in their lives,
    it melts my heart to the point of evoking tears.

    i always question how i can feel unconditional love
    when i haven’t seen it from either parents.
    i don’t know how you deal with the absence of a parent,
    especially of a father.

    thank you for being brave enough to share this with us
    and bare your soul!

  3. As a son, I can also relate to this story and I applaud you for speaking so honestly about it. My father is a military man, Army Rangers to be more specific and was high ranking. He makes it known, quite often still that the only reason he left his position was “because you were born and if it wasn’t for me, he’d still be in the army.” That hurts that my father would rather do his thing in the army than spend time with his son. I try to reach out to him still but I barely get a hello sometimes. Everything you said in this post is exactly how I feel and I’m sure millions of young men also are going through this so you’re not alone bro, stay strong I’m sure your father would at least want you to be that.

  4. I just saw the Fresh Prince episode again last week, and it still gets to me.

    Last week, I returned home and decided with my 3 sisters to visit our father. We are all over the age of 25 and his only daughters. He apologized for the past and promised better for the future. We’ll see. The main thing I appreciated was I have peace. No more questions, no more woulda, shoulda, coulda said. I said everything I wanted to. Whether I am satisfied with the answers or not doesn’t even matter anymore. I pray that you find peace as well.

  5. I think more brothers should openly and honestly express these feelings, as you did. I don’t have any answers as to how to improve things, but I agree with B. Geezy that you should use that as your inspiration to do better. I think it’s every parents ideal, whether expressed or not, that their children manifest into better versions of themselves.

    On the one hand, I’m all for communication and openly discussing with him the hurt that you’ve felt. My father and my brother’s mother divorced when he was very young, and I think there were some issues that developed because of it. He came straight out and told my dad about himself. My dad didn’t like all that he heard, but he had to admit that he allowed himself to become oblivious to certain things. They don’t have the perfect relationship, but it is much better than it was, and my brother is pushing 40. I know the pain or fear of rejection can be a big deal, but I believe a child is always due a certain amount of deference and acknowledgment from their parents, so don’t short yourself.

    A family friend lived by the motto that where there’s life, there’s hope.

  6. Your father sounds like a narcissist (“The pure truth is that I wish my father would act like I existed. Nothing was worse than this year when he called me ON HIS BIRTHDAY to wish me a belated birthday”), and I felt so bad for you when I read this. Maybe there are other father-like figures you can turn to? It seems like your father is the kind of person who just isn’t capable of giving you the love and support you need; it just isn’t in him.

  7. I wrote a comment, but it grew into a response post. I recognize that pain. I think through writing you’ve found the source of the wound. I don’t know how to dress it, but at least its addressed. Good luck. Peace. http://jns1027.blogspot.com

  8. I don’t know how I keep failing at making a comment, but yea… Good stuff here. I know I’m not the only one who recognizes this pain. The fact that you are addressing it is a huge step in itself. Can’t start the healing until the wounding is done. Stay strong, and good luck. Peace. [The original comment grew into a full blown response post (jns1027.blogspot.com).]

  9. […] Daddy Issues? Maybe. (wisemath.wordpress.com) […]

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