My dad kind of sucks. I guess I can’t really complain. He isn’t an alcoholic. He never caused me any physical harm. He didn’t abandon my family or leave my mom to struggle as a single mom. He’s just not a great guy.
Even when I was younger, I was never really a “daddy’s girl.” I don’t know how I was able to recognize it so young, but I would see the way he treated my mom and the way they bickered. The way he under-appreciated the things she’d go out of her way to do for him, pick on her for the way she handled her finances, make her feel like nothing she ever did was enough. I’d see the way he’d make her feel so small, and they way she tried to conceal it and pretend like nothing was wrong around my siblings and me. But I could see it.
The years went by. He never skipped out on a Christmas. He never forgot a birthday or anniversary. He was a good man that supported his family. Yet, something was just not right. As I got older, he started treating me more like an adult. He’d unleash his worries on me. He’d talk to me about his marital problems with my mom. It was a heavy weight on my young shoulders. After each of these talks I’d get a nervous and guilty feeling (which I now know is anxiety). After each of these talks I would try to be as perfect and good as I could be. One less thing my parents would have to stress about.
Then it was off to college. I tried my hardest in class. Worked multiple jobs. Never did any drugs. I was doing my best. Did I party with my friends? Yes. Did I wear tight dresses and high heels. Sure. Did that make me a bad daughter? Absolutely not. Even after moving out, those talks continued. But this time, they shifted to me. I was an emotional wreck. I felt like I couldn’t do anything right. If I wasn’t going to church every Sunday in a turtleneck, or volunteering with a charity on Friday nights, then I might as well have been working on the corner smoking crack. I was never enough. I felt constantly judged.
I tried working it out. Talking out our differences. It was a lose/lose situation. I would have him in my life, and feel miserable because I was constantly getting verbal lashes. Or I would shut him out, and feel like a terrible person for abandoning my family. No one wants to be the girl with “daddy issues.” I’d think about this title often. Did I have daddy issues? Or did I just have issues with my dad? Are those two even different?
I wish we were close, and I hate to say it, but my life is better without him. There were a lot of hurtful, degrading things said that no daughter should ever hear from her father. But you know what? It doesn’t really bother me anymore. I know who I am, and it was none of those names he was calling me. I wish we could live cohesively in one another’s life, but that’s just not feasible. We’re two very different people. If he were a guy I was dating, any relationship expert would tell me to pack my bags and run. But you can’t choose your family, and you can’t break up with them.
Maybe one day we can foster a relationship. I don’t hate him. I don’t blame all of my life’s issues on a bad relationship with my dad. Truthfully, I’m strong. I’m independent. I don’t go from guy to guy looking to fill a void. I’m in a really great place. Maybe one day he’ll see that. Maybe one day he won’t. Either way, I’ll be alright..
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