I have a story not unlike many others I know. We all have obvious differences and variances here and there, but the underlying facts remain the same:
- Our Fathers left at some point in our lives.
- We are still recovering from these experiences.
I’ve been internally begging for a relationship with my Father since I was a child. My Mom and Father split when I was 2-ish. It wasn’t a nice split. There was a lot of distance and I didn’t get to see my Father very much. My Mom moved us to Ontario and my dad stayed out West. He’d fly me out West in the summers to see him. I’d generally visit for 2 weeks, but he’d be working so I’d spend my days in summer camp. This lasted off and on until I was 12.
The summer of my 12th birthday I’d spent 2 weeks with my Father. I met part of his new family, his step daughters, but there really was no talk of the rest of his family. I kept asking when his wife would be home so I could meet her, but I was repeatedly told she was busy, that she may be home later and that she was excited to meet me. I was there for 2 weeks. I never met her.
When I came back to Ontario after that visit, I had learned that I not only had 2 step sisters, but my baby brother was born not long after I had left. I had no idea that I was going to be a big sister. My father failed to mention that to me while I was there. I had to find out through a phone call as I inquired as to who was crying on the other end of the line.
“oh, that’s your baby brother.”
You could probably see the moment my heart broke.
15 years would pass before I’d speak to my Father again.
His step daughter tracked me down on Facebook. Slowly and gradually, I started speaking to him. Attempting to rebuild the relationship and welcome him back into my life.
I had eventually come to forgive him and move past all the pain his absence had caused. I even had him move in with me for a year as he recovered from some health issues. We started working on building a business together and made some pretty awesome plans for the future. As you can imagine, the inner child in my felt like this was a dream come true. I had finally caught his attention.
Then he left me again. This time it wasn’t just me, if it was just me I could deal with it. This time it was me and my kids.
It’s been 2 years and my kids still ask about him. My youngest son refers to him as the one who walked away. He has a grandpa that died and a grandpa that walked away. Even then at the age of 4 or 5, he understood the difference in disappearances. They are so much wiser than we give them credit for.
He walked out of my life TWO times and there was nothing I could do to stop him. I should have known that the day he boarded that train and told me he would be back in 6 months, that it was complete and utter bullshit. I should have known better.
Why I had to unfriend my Father.
I’ve spent most of my life, sorry, let me re-phrase that. I’ve spent ALL of my life in a constant battle to win the affection of this man. I’ve spent my entire life trying to be the daughter he wanted. I’ve spent all of my life doing things in hopes that he would actually SEE me and understand that I needed him.
I’ve observed the social interaction between him, my brother and his step daughters on social media. I’ve seen him like, comment and congratulate on all their wonderful accomplishments in their lives. In the last 2 years, neither myself or any of my children have received so much as a happy birthday, a congratulations on your hard work, there have been no inquiries into the frequent hospital visits and specialist appointments I make with my youngest son, no remarks on how well my kids are doing in school or how much they’ve grown. Yet I see how proud he is that his step daughter is doing well with her budding acting career. I see him tell her that she’s so beautiful and he loves and misses her. I see him build the business WE were supposed to build together with his son. I see him using the company name that WE had come up together along with and the logo I designed.
I just can’t do it any longer.
I’ve finally come to somewhat of an understanding that the relationship I so desperately desire will most likely never happen and that my efforts to please him are futile and pointless. I am wasting time and energy on someone who does not deserve it, nor would he care or even notice if that energy stopped. I’ve come to realize that I will never be the daughter he wanted (he has 2 others he actually helped raise anyways). I’m finally understanding that even the extensions of myself, my children, were not enough to win his love and affection.
After 30-some-odd years of fighting for him. I give up. I surrender. I will do my best to forget the pain. I will do my best to find forgiveness in my heart, but only because I know forgiveness is the essence of healing. I will do this because I need to let go in order to move forward. I need to stop holding on to the past so I can start living my life and shaping my future. I have to realize that my future no longer includes him and that has to be ok.
What I’ve learned from my Daddy Issues
(and that I continually work on daily)
- I will never trust a man. It doesn’t matter who you are or how authentic your intentions are, my ability to trust in a relationship, at this moment in time, is non-existent.
- I will always believe that, regardless of who you are and how much you tell me you’re in for the long haul, that you will leave me.
- My walls are like Fort-fucking-Knox. You may chip away at them and I may give you the illusion that you are making some headway, but in reality, you’re not. My walls are impenetrable and as tall as the wall separating US from the Wildlings. You don’t want to access those Wildlings. There is a whole lot of emotional baggage on the other side of this wall that you are most certainly NOT prepared for… and neither am I.
- Fighting for someone’s attention is pointless. In my eyes, it’s easier to just walk away.
- It has been ingrained in my brain, that I will never be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, successful enough not just for my father, but all men that follow.
- I put my need to find a man and the need to attain the affection and love of a man in my life ahead of respecting myself and my body. I searched for love in alllll the wrong places. I endured many horrible, abusive, shitty relationships before I finally realized that I don’t actually need a man to BE somebody in life. I can BE somebody on my own and I don’t need the approval or permission from any man.
- Not everyone is meant to be in your life, regardless of the role they were put there to play. It doesn’t matter who they are. If they’re toxic. They’re toxic!
- Everyone you encounter in your life is a teacher. Some will hurt you, some will love you, some are just passing by, but all will teach you something. You better be paying attention.
- I don’t know how to love properly. Aside from the love I have for my kids. I don’t know what “love” is. It scares me. I feel like I don’t want it because I associate it with pain and I don’t understand it, hence the reason I push it away and resist it so much.
- Most days, I don’t feel as though I am worthy of love. Having one of the “supposedly” main role models in your life drop you without batting an eye kind of makes you question your self worth.
- How anyone can wilfully walk away from their children (or walk away on request of someone else, ie another woman) is absolutely incomprehensible to me. Perhaps the fact that I do have abandonment issues has created a deeper bond and connection between myself and my kids.
- There are many, MANY others, men and women alike, with stories similar to mine. While this doesn’t bring me comfort or closure as I know the pain it has likely caused, but power in numbers and support from a community that understands is helpful.
I am aware of the issues I have in regards to my experiences. Awareness is key to moving forward with your life. Awareness and acceptance. I’ve been aware of my issues for some time, but it’s been only recently that I’ve allowed myself to accept this as a loss and give myself permission to let go. I’ve been holding on so tightly for so long, i can only imagine the freedom and space this release will create in my life.
Will I mourn, most likely. Will I cry, probably not any more than I already have. Another thing I’ve learned from my abandonment issues is how to compartmentalise my feelings. Probably not a characteristic to be proud of, but it does get me through a lot of shit.
Just a reminder…
One of the hardest parts of growing up without the love of my Father was believing that I was not good enough or worthy enough to be loved.
No matter what I did or what I tried, I was never good enough.
I know now that I AM worthy of love.
I am good enough.
I AM ENOUGH.
And so are you <3